About

Welcome to Black Earth Meats

We supply fresh meat to restaurants and retailers in the upper Midwest, and directly to customers through our retail store in Black Earth and over the Internet.  We are a USDA facility with third-party certification for humane handling (Animal Welfare Approved) and are certified organic (Iowa Department of Agriculture).


Although we come from a direct marketing farm background, we provide more than what a single farm can raise.  We aggregate from a number of small, sustainable farmers to provide a consistent supply of quality animals.  In addition, as a small plant, we try to keep the prices as unadorned as possible – we do not have a “marketing budget” or extensive sales programs.  Instead, we develop a relationship with our chefs and grocers to learn together how to utilize more of each animal.


The goals of Black Earth Meat Market:



(1) Establish and maintain the highest quality meats, sausages and processing facilities; and grow the reputation for customer service, quality and ethical/environmental business practices.


(2) Grow a network of pasture-based farmers of hogs and beef (organic or not) which provides consistently high quality meats, mineralized soils, heritage breeds, and a living income for the farmers.


(3) Develop a strong and vibrant buyers' clubs in the circle city and underserved rural areas.


(4) Ally with local producers for consistent, year-round custom processing.


(5) Become the focal point and conduit for regional, sustainable agriculture and agri-tourism.


(6) Pay a living wage and basic benefits to employees; a premium to farmers; and ample dividends to exceed investor needs.


About Products & Animals

All of our animals are purchased locally from farmers who we know raise them with the highest standards for humane treatment and overall quality. Our farmers include Nick Zimmer, the 2008 Organic Farmer of the Year, and many Amish farmers who need someone to market their products for them.  We support an approach to farm management which sustains and nourishes the environment through restoration and soil improvement techniques.  We match the quality meat with our artisan butchers and sausage maker for an incredible product.


Our motto is simple yet compelling: WE HONOR THESE ANIMALS, FOR BY THEIR DEATH WE GAIN LIFE.  We believe that the “lost art” of butchery is a skill we can keep alive, but it must be done with reverence and pride.  Our entire system is built around HUMANS – not machines, not “lines,” not automation.  Each animal is handled one at a time, and our butchers are trained in the entire system.


We support three “levels” of animal agriculture to suit a variety of farmers and customers.


Grandpa’s Way: local animals brought from southern Wisconsin and the “Driftless” area.  Anyone driving around our area will see small pastures with a few steers, lambs, goats or hogs.  These are not farms set up for industrial production, but are small lot farmers raising a few animals for extra money in support of their families.  These are not CAFO/feedlot operations using sub-therapeutic antibiotics, but the type of farming our grandparents knew. 


Grass Fed: now a USDA approved claim, our grass fed animals are fed no corn or distillers’ grains, but a forage diet.  While there is no third-party certification about the use of antibiotics or hormones, the farmers we work with pledge to us that the animals are antibiotic free and no hormones were added during production.


Organic: also a USDA approved claim, our flagship line is our organic, pasture-based agriculture. Our organic cattle are allowed free range on fertile pastures rich with naturally growing legumes and grasses.  They are raised using a strict quality assurance program without antibiotics, synthetic hormones, chemical fertilizer, or GMOs, and are strictly monitored by a third party.

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Important Info!
  1. Minimum order of $10
  2. Will ship items
  3. Will deliver locally up to 25 miles away with a minimum fee of $15.00
  4. Allows for pickup
Questions? Contact Black Earth Meats