Prairie Pride Farm
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For years, Roger and Dawn Hubmer raised corn, soybeans, and hogs on their sixth-generation Prairie Pride Farm near Mankato, Minnesota. In the 1990s they took a realistic look at the hog industry, which was moving toward bigger operations.
“We didn’t want to go the direction of large production,” Dawn says. They needed a niche to remain relevant.
A meat study on hog genetics conducted by the National Pork Producers found that the Berkshire breed exhibited exceptional features of palatability, with the Duroc breed close behind.
“Berkshire pork is juicy, tender, and retains moisture even when cooked,” Dawn says.
Instead of “going big,” the Hubmers decided to stay small and focus on quality. They were already raising Duroc hogs and added Berkshires into their herd (they now have white breeds, shown here, as well). They also eliminated the use of hormones and unnecessary antibiotics.Date Published: February 17, 2016Date Updated: February 17, 2016
Hens in Hoop Barn
A hoop barn was converted to a giant chicken coop for raising free-range hens and producing eggs.
“Today’s consumers are looking for meat from local, small, family farms,” Dawn says. “We wanted to offer the whole package: quality meat, raising our own non-GMO corn, and creating healthy, clean feed. Basically we wanted to have control of all aspects.”
With a desire to sell directly to consumers, Prairie Pride Farm became a member of the St. Paul Farmer’s Market.Date Published: February 17, 2016Date Updated: February 17, 2016
Direct to Consumers
Today, Dawn has a booth at the market four days a week with a refrigerator truck parked behind the stand. Customers are attracted to the booth by the tantalizing aroma of pan-fried pork as Dawn prepares samples share with passers-by.
“People think it will taste just like the pork purchased in the grocery store, but then they try it and they’re hooked,” she says. The meat is incomparably tender, juicy and packed with flavor.
The Hubmers offer over 40 USDA-inspected products, including uncured hickory smoked bacon, ham, brats, summer sausages, and smoked link sausages. They also process custom orders.Date Published: February 17, 2016Date Updated: February 17, 2016
Dawn often needs to educate consumers. “At first people asked why our pork was more expensive than in the grocery store, and I told them that this quality of meat is not available in any stores. Plus it is all custom hand-cut, shrink-wrapped and flash-frozen to lock in freshness as its peak,” she says. “Also, no water or solutions are added to enhance the flavor or add weight to the package.”
Thinking back to when they sold hogs on the open market, Dawn remembers how disconnected they were from the consumer. “We got a paycheck and that was it,” she says. Now the family connects with the consumers on a personal level. “Customers will come back and say, ‘This is the best meat we’ve ever had.’ It makes us feel that all our hard work is appreciated.
“We want to make our farm diversified enough to keep up with the trends so that our sixth-generation farm will make it another generation,” Dawn says.
Learn moreDate Published: February 17, 2016Date Updated: February 17, 2016
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