The only thing we like more than talking about food is talking about food with our favorite local producers. Prairie Pride Farm is run by Roger, Dawn, and Paul Hubmer and is located in Saint Clair, Minnesota. Their farm was the very first meat provider for the St. Peter Food Co-op over 15 years ago! Read on to learn more about the farm and their Berkshire hogs and pastured chickens…
Tell us about Prairie Pride Farm.
Prairie Pride Farm is a 6th generation family farm located south of Mankato near Saint Clair, Minnesota. The farm was started in 1876, by Roger’s family. Roger and I (Dawn) started selling pork and chicken at the Mankato Farmers Market in 1999. We also have a BBQ catering business, which our son Paul now owns and operates as pit master.
The farm is located on the open prairie, with corn and soybean fields surrounding a farmstead of both historic and modern buildings. Roger and I both grew up on farms, raising animals and crops for feed. We are a Minnesota Water Quality Certified Farm as of 2015. This special certification is funded by the Clean Water Land & Legacy Amendment and awarded to farms that follow strict guidelines regarding surface water entering streams and rivers.
In 1998 we were farrowing and finishing our own hogs on the corn we raised—we had control over all aspects of the hogs life span. Then the hog market crashed and many farms were going under. At the same time, hog industry leaders were pushing farmers to raise a leaner hog for the packers. We objected to this philosophy that the consumer wanted a lean product—we believed the consumer wanted flavorful pork, raised without antibiotics and as humanly as possible. After talking with Dr. Temple Grandin after one of her seminars, she gave us additional ideas to incorporate into our already humane farm practices.
What is special about the animals you raise?
We raise 100% Certified Berkshire Kurobuta Pork, known for its tenderness, darker color meat, and juiciness. We have our pork processed at a small USDA plant in Geneva, Minnesota. We have used this processor for 22 years and have a very good relationship with them. No water or sodium solutions are added during processing.
We have raised our own non-GMO corn for several years. The hogs love it! The corn is ground and blended with vitamins and minerals that the hogs need for a well balanced diet. Our hogs grow for about 5 -6 months on our farm. Small groups of 18 are housed inside in large pens to protect them from the Minnesota elements.
Our pastured chickens are USDA inspected and certified to as antibiotic free. The chickens are raised on clover pasture for a minimum of 3 weeks in the summer months. We raise only hens, which have the juiciest meat and smaller bones. No water weight is added and no sodium solutions are injected. Non-GMO corn supplements the clover pasture. Additionally, all vegetarian feed is ground here at our farm.
Why are locally owned farms important to a community?
Local, small, farm families are so important to the local economy because they add stability to the community. Owners of the farm live on the farm and contribute to the local school and governmental system, for example.
What product do your customers love the most?
Our Hickory Smoked “Uncured” Bacon is a customer favorite! It’s lower in salt as well as sodium and nitrate free. The bacon is smoked with real hickory wood that adds a wonderful flavor. Our sausage maker and smoker, Rachael, has won many national and local awards for her expertise in the smokehouse. She makes all of our hams, summer sausages, brats, and meat sticks.
What’s one of your favorite recipes?
This time of year my favorite recipe includes my pre-seasoned Southwest Carnitas Pork Shoulder Roast. Just slow cook for 6-7 hours with onions and this roast is ready for any walking taco or quesadilla. Andouille is a favorite in red beans and rice or jambalaya. It’s already cooked and has a nice smokey heat. Yummm!
This interview has been edited. All photos courtesy of Prairie Pride Farm.