Pork Producers bring local flavor to fair

One of the tastiest, most succulent pieces of meat to ever touch a taste bud may have come from a neighbors farm. At least that would be the case if the East Central Pork Producers were the stop for the meal.

Andrea White was named Pork Ambassador for the district that includes Mille Lacs County, and she was at the Mille Lacs County Fair last Friday. She said that when the ECPP grills in a community, like they did at the Mille Lacs County Fair last weekend, they order the chops from a local shop.

“People are literally eating pork chops that are raised two miles away,” White said.

Another happy customer leaves the East Central Pork Producer’s stand at the Mille Lacs County Fair last Friday afternoon.  Times photo by Tyler Ohmann

Another happy customer leaves the East Central Pork Producer’s stand at the Mille Lacs County Fair last Friday afternoon.
Times photo by Tyler Ohmann

White and the ECPP grilled up chops for fair goers all weekend at their stand near the entrance of the fairgrounds. They have grill sites all over the state throughout the summer. She said that they have had good business all summer.

“We were in Pine City last week, and we had a line 20 feet out all night I was there,” White said. “We were just humming with the pork chops really.”

White, who will be entering her third year at Winona State University this fall, was selected as the district’s ambassador thanks to her essay, and her previous work in 4H. She showed pigs for years when growing up.

White wrote that essay on her experience with the pork industry, which led to a meeting with the district’s ECCP supervisor to find out if she could fulfill the duties, and she was selected. She went to leadership conference in Morris, Minnesota in June, where she was able to pick the brains of pork experts. She will represent the district at the State Fair as well. She said that it is a nice way to return to her roots, since she is majoring in social work.

“Having the ambassadorship has kind of kept me in tune with the pork industry,” White said. “It is really nice, I enjoy it very much.”

The pork industry has taken a hit in recent years, and it is no different within the district that White represents she said.

“Lately our area has shrunk a little as far a big hog farm operations,” White said. “Like I come from a hobby farm, and came up through 4H, so I’m not from a huge farm, but it’s a lot of smaller guys coming together these days.”

She believed that the ECCP grill stand was one of the most unique at the fair, because at least one of the people in the stand could say just how the pork got to the plate.

“Members from our organization volunteer their time in our stand, so you’re always going to have a hog farmer in there,” White said. “If people have questions, we are all ready to answer them.”

“It is really fun, and especially at county fairs were you have the 4H just down the road,” White added.

White is from the Cambridge area, and grew up on a hobby farm that raised hogs.

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