Gourmet Heritage Pork, Mangalitsa, Berkshire and Duroc Cross|
Mangalitsa Estates is the name our family decided to use when we started working with the Mangalitsas and the crosses with other Heritage breeds, like the Berkshire and Duroc. Kerns Farms has been in the swine seed stock business since 1966 and more recently in the pursuit of superior quality pork. During the past 48 years, we have pursued either producing superior swine genetics or the pigs that produce the final product demanded by consumers and chefs.
It started as a 4-H project and developed into seed stock operation that supplied genetics to the local swine producers. I studied Animal Science at ISU majoring in swine genetics and meat science where I met what was to become my life’s mentor, world renowned swine geneticist, Dr. Lauren Christian. I also worked with Dr. Lanoy Hazel, Chair of Animal Science; Dr. Ed Kline, a leading meat quality experts at the time, and Al Christian, a master breeder and herdsman of the ISU Swine teaching farm where Duroc and Berkshire hogs were bred for performance and superior meat quality long before the industry was talking about meat quality. I had the opportunity to work for International Livestock Improvement Services Inc., which was owned by these gentlemen, doing what was the first use of ultrasound to evaluate body composition in swine. I traveled the Midwest, Southeast and Eastern Corn belt States working the leading swine breeders, swine research universities, and swine testing stations. Through these experiences and acquaintances, I had the opportunity to see the diversity of the American swine gene pool and meet the leaders and future leaders of the swine industry.
All during my time at college, the family kept the family seed stock business growing. We started with Hampshire’s and in the mid-seventies under Dr. Christian’s guidance; we imported Landrace from Sweden and Canada to introduce maternal Landrace genetics to the United States. Our Landrace herd was called “KK Landrace”. It grew into North America’s largest imported Landrace herd. We supplied genetics to breeders and commercial producers in the US, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Philippines, China and several countries in Central and South America. In the early eighties, Durocs and Large Whites were added to give our clients a total genetic package from the same health source.
In 2010, a close friend who was processing and selling Heritage Berkshires to the food service industry and “White Table Cloth Chefs” needed help in establishing a consistent source of superior meat quality Berkshires in numbers to supply his clients demand. Up until that time, Berkshires were acquired from many different sources of Berkshire genetics. They lacked the consistency desired by his clients. We acquired the best available Heritage Berkshires and started a genetic nucleus herd known as Heirloom Swine Farm to supply the world’s best Berkshire genetics to his purebred Berkshire production system. Shortly after, his Japanese grocery clients wanted a pork product with marbling similar to that of “Kobe beef”. We studied the genetic options available and found the Mangalitsa from Eastern Europe that Heath Putman had imported in 2007, had the desired qualities that was needed to make the “Gourmet pork” product being sought by the leading chefs in this country. The Mangalitsa pork is bright red with marbling similar “Kobe beef”.
We were very fortunate to obtain a genetic start from Mr. Putnam to start our Mangalitsa nucleus, now known as Mangalitsa Estates. We now have the second largest herd of Mangalitsa pigs in North America. When people started finding out that we had the pure Mangalitsa pigs, the demand has for the purebreds has been overwhelming. We have put the Japanese project on hold for a while to develop the Mangalitsa herd to supply America’s Chefs with Mangalitsa Estates “Five Star Gourmet Pork”.
Please call us at 641-344-5166 to inquire about our Mangalitsa genetics or Mangalitsa pork and how you can have it in your restaurant, meat counter, or home!
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Practices (our standards for raising or making our products)
All of our pork is from Heritage swine breeds. We raise our pigs in a combination of facilities that keep our pigs comfortable and growing efficiently. The growing pigs are raised in deep-bedded hoops. While the sows are housed in loose pen gestation facilities. Our sows farrow in free stall pens. All pigs are raised without antibiotics in their corn/soy rations. We feed no grain by-products to keep meat quality at it's highest level.
We raise our Mangalitsa pigs on an all-natural diet. They are never injected with hormones or antibiotics or fed anything but all-natural feedstuffs. We feed diets of Iowa corn, Iowa Soybeans, and small grains. All feed is processed on the farm for consistency and quality control. Our farm is using a corn, soybean, alfalfa hay and pasture rotation. All animal manure is recycled to our crops and pasture ground. We use no commercial fertilizer.
We are the only Mangalitsa herd that is antibiotic free. You benefit from pork that has a healthier blend of fats, higher levels of oleic acids, and a product untainted by artificial additives.
Mangalitsa and our Mangalitsa cross pigs are a classified as “lard-type” breed. However, Mangalitsa pigs actually have more unsaturated fat than today’s conventionally bred lean pigs. The meat is a bright red in color with marbling compared to that of Wagyu cattle. When cooked, Mangalitsa pork is exceptional, juicy, tender, and marbled. Chefs rave about the meat and lard’s versatility—the lard can be whipped, braised, smoked and prepared in many different ways. The chefs don’t need to dress up the meat’s flavor with excess salt or spices. When cured, Mangalitsa meat makes unsurpassed bacon, hams, charcuterie, and salamis, due to the high monounsaturated fat content. Commercially produced pork is high polyunsaturated fat.
Highlights this Month
We will feature monthly specials.