How Operation Bacon Pork Products Began
It all started as a way to help a friend.
Steve & Jen VanKeulen – local hog farmers near Ghent, MN – are one of 3,000 hog farms in Minnesota. Like many others, they were faced with euthanizing their pigs during COVID-19 when their international-based processing plant in Sioux Falls, SD closed. Their future was uncertain.
Brett & Katie Van Vooren – friends of Steve & Jen – knew they had to find a way to help. While most small, local butcher shops and meat processors were full for months, Brett & Katie were able to find a local processing partner, and set up shop at Operation Bacon.
Benny’s Meat Market – owned by Ben & Derek Schwarzrock – originally based in Hutchinson, MN, initial success allowed Derek to join the family business and acquire an additional facility in Hector, MN. This enables our partnership to increase pork output and fulfillment times, accommodating Steve & Jen’s hogs and other local hog farmers in need.
Operation Bacon Philosophy
Neighbors need to help neighbors. In Minnesota, farmers are our neighbors. Agriculture is the second-largest employer in Minnesota, and without our local farmers we’d be lost.
When purchasing pork for our families, we want to know that we’re helping:
- local family farms get a fair price for their hogs,
- local family meat lockers and butcher shops get a fair price for their processing,
- local families in Minnesota get the tastiest, freshest, and best cuts of pork at an affordable price per pound.
Operation Bacon Pork Products is a proud supporter of Helping Paws, based in Hopkins, MN.
Helping Paws is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing and training Assistance Dogs for those with physical disabilities, as well as veterans and first-responders who have PTSD. They also train and provide Facility Dogs to work in therapy, education, and treatment programs.
Operation Bacon was proud to donate a hog to the 2020 Helping Paws charity auction, raising more than $1,000 for the cause. A donation to the charity auction is planned to continue every year.
Minnesota Meat Movement
Operation Bacon is owned by Minnesotans, created by Minnesotans, for Minnesotans. The sourcing of hogs and processing is locally-owned and operated in Minnesota. Our Minnesota Meat Movement is here to bring fresh, local, all-natural, chemical- and antibiotic-free, tasty pork back to the table.
We want Minnesota families to have options when it comes to their pork needs. Operation Bacon is here to help you get local pork at affordable prices – forever. Get together with some friends or family and order a whole-hog or order a half-hog just for yourself.
If you want to, we can introduce you to the family farm who supplied your pork. That’s the beauty of Operation Bacon – we want you to know exactly where your meat comes from, and the effect your purchase has on the lives of local hog farmers.
Thank you for choosing Operation Bacon Pork Products.
The Life Of A Package Of Bacon
Let’s look at your average bacon bought in the store.
- Where does your bacon come from? The supermarket.
- Who supplies them? A regionally-based food processor.
- Who owns them? A nationally-based food processor.
- Who owns them? An internationally-based food processor
Let’s run this over again with fresh, local, all-natural, chemical- and antibiotic-free, Operation Bacon bacon.
- Where does your bacon come from? Pig-up or Delivery at locally-owned Benny’s Meat Market in Hector, MN.
- Who supplies them? Local family farms in Minnesota.
- Who owns them? Well, the local Minnesota families do.
- Who owns them? That’s about it.
We’re proud to supply bacon and other pork cuts you want at a price you love. Made in Minnesota, with Minnesota butchers, Minnesota pigs, and Minnesota hog farms. The profits stay in Minnesota and are invested back into the business. We sell fresh, local, all-natural, chemical- and antibiotic-free, whole- and half-hog packages.
Source & Health
Where Does Operation Bacon Get Their Pork Products From?
We source our hogs from local Minnesota farms. As of 2020, our main supplier is the Steve & Jen VanKeulen farm near Ghent, MN. As demand increases, other local Minnesota hog farms will be used, and you can ask for more information about them at any time. The processing facility is also local and Minnesota owned: Benny’s Meat Market in Hector, Minnesota.
Is Operation Bacon Good For Farmers?
Yes. Our goal is to have neighbors help neighbors. We are here to make sure local Minnesota hog farmers get a fair price for their pork, while local Minnesota families get the best possible price per pound.
Is Operation Bacon USDA Graded?
Our local hog farmers are dedicated to following all Minnesota Department of Agriculture guidelines. Benny’s Meat Market staff follow all Minnesota Department of Health guidelines, with even tighter health restrictions on their employees during the pandemic.
Will I Know The Farms Where My Pork Is Coming From?
As of 2020, the majority of our hogs come from the Steve & Jen VanKeulen farm near Ghent, MN. Due to the pandemic and the effect on local hog farmers from a euthanization perspective, with Steve’s help, we have and will help other farmers in need whose hogs are raised under the same guidelines as the VanKeulen farm. At any time, you can request more information about where your hog came from.
Does Operation Bacon Offer Cooking Instructions Or Recipes?
Yes. You can see our recipes and cooking advice at our Recipe Page.
How Are Prices Determined?
The price of your hog is determined based on the hanging weight. The hanging weight is what the pig weighs after it has been slaughtered and skinned, but before processing occurs. The farmer will receive a current market competitive price per pig based on the average weight of the load trucked to slaughter. The farmer hand selects each pig for the batch being delivered providing weight uniformity of the load. Slaughter & processing is also included in your final price for the whole or half-hog purchase.
How Often Does Operation Bacon Restock Pork?
Operation Bacon is constantly sourcing pork out of Benny’s Meat Market’s Hector, MN location. We work as diligently as we can to get you your whole-hog or half-hog order in a timely manner. Place your order with us, and expect a personal phone call with follow-up texts or emails to update you on your order.
Does Operation Bacon Sell To Restaurants Or Other Wholesalers?
At this time, no. Operation Bacon only sells to individuals and families. Our goal is to get local Minnesota pork to local Minnesota families.
Pick-Up & Delivery
How Can I See My Order Status?
You will be updated by email or text – your preference – as your order progresses.
How Much Processed Pork Should I Expect?
The live weight of the hogs per batch are averaging 275-300 lbs. The final total weight form a Standard processed package averages 150-165 lbs. per whole hog. Check out our Packages Page regarding your processing options and butcher cuts.
How Is The Processed Pork Packaged?
Your pork will be frozen and butcher-wrapped. We do offer cryovac vacuum seal packaging as an option.
How Do I Pick Up My Order?
You will need 3-4 large coolers per processed whole hog. You can pick up your order at the Hector location once you receive your final order instructions via phone or email. Delivery options are available, see below. The Hector location address is: Benny’s Meat Market, 801 Highway Avenue East, Hector, MN 55342.
Does Operation Bacon Deliver?
Yes. Operation Bacon does deliver, generally within 75 miles of Hector, MN at a fair, agreed upon delivery charge. We will try to group customer orders together to a geographical pick up point within 25 miles of your city/area of residence to control delivery costs. We have invested in a freezer box truck to keep your product frozen during the scheduled delivery. You will always have the option to pick up your order from Benny’s Meat Market in Hector, MN.
How Long Does Delivery Take?
Expect your frozen, processed pork to be delivered within the agreed upon timeline established with you via phone, email, or text. Generally, we want to deliver your fresh pork within 1-3 days after your order has been processed.
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