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Oak Meadow Meats of Harmony


Fri, May 2nd, 2014
Posted in Harmony Features

Michael and Vanessa Aggen, owners and operators of Oak Meadow Meats, have been in business since 2010 in Harmony. Photo by Barb Jeffers

Growing up on a farm near Harmony, Minn. with two older brothers and one older sister, Michael Aggen was active in showing cattle and swine at livestock shows along with his siblings. The family was involved in state and county fairs, junior livestock shows, and also competed in some national competitions. Michael’s wife, Vanessa, was also involved with livestock shows and FFA during her childhood.

After graduating from high school, Michael attended the University of Minnesota where he began working in the meat lab as a student employee and after school he continued working there full time. Michael then worked for the Minnesota Department of Agriculture as a meat inspector where Michael says he saw a lot of different plants and ways to do everything. That knowledge would help him and his wife in their future endeavor.

While wanting to return home to help with the family cattle operation, Oak Meadow Farms, Michael said he knew there would be a demand for a butcher in this area. And so began the plans for Oak Meadow Meats, which opened in November 2010 with meat processing. In April of 2011 the Aggen’s added a retail counter with a wide array of meats, cheese, and fish.

According to Vanessa and Michael the support from the community and the entire area since they opened has been tremendous. Michael stated, “Everyone has “been very nice to us since opening the business.” Vanessa says it’s fun to get to know people who are regular customers and they begin to feel more like family than patrons.

Michael stills helps with farming when he can, working alongside his brother Matthew and his father, Lynn, who is a veterinarian at the Harmony Vet Clinic in addition to farming. The Aggen family is continuing a tradition which includes taking pride in your family, your livestock and also your business.

Michael’s father states that having his children in 4-H and showing livestock taught them “discipline and hard work”, adding that showing livestock successfully takes hard work and dedication over a long period of time.

Dr. Aggen stated that the family cattle operation “evolved from participation in 4-H”, explaining that like many activities it turned into a family activity because at times when the kids couldn’t be there for one reason or another then someone else in the family pitches in to get the work done. This family participation “turned into our seed stock operation” stated Dr. Aggen.

Matthew Aggen states watching his grandparents and aunt and uncle show livestock when he was little made him want to do it too. Matt says that it was a really good experience and he has turned it into a profession with the tradition carrying on with Matthew’s sons Hunter, age 15, and Garrett, age 12, who now show cattle and swine.

Michael and Vanessa Aggen have a daughter, Eliza, who is 15 months old and you can be sure in one way or another livestock will be a part of her life as it has been a part of her family’s life for generations.

Matthew Aggen said showing livestock teaches children responsibility and how to take care of something, which resonates with what his father Lynn said when he commented, “There are two things needed to be successful at showing - a quality animal is about 50 percent of it, the rest of it is how you feed and take care of the animal,” he said.

The hard work and dedication Michael and Vanessa learned as children while taking care of and showing livestock shines through in the business they have built together.

All beef products available at Oak Meadow Meats are graded USDA Choice and include a variety and steaks and roasts as well as 85 percent lean and 93 percent lean ground beef. Oak Meadow Meats has several types of beef jerky including Colorado beef jerky, which Michael stated is more flavorful than regular beef jerky and since the package my husband and I purchased was almost empty by the time we returned home from Oak Meadow Meats, I will agree wholeheartedly.

Snack sticks are available in flavors such as cheddar, jalapeno, teriyaki, BBQ, and Pepper Jack to suit any taste buds. Also available is summer sausage in different varieties such as jalapeno cheddar.

As grilling season is upon us, Oak Meadow Meats has many delicious and interesting choices to cook on the grill next time it’s fired up. Aside from rib-eyes and other steaks there are eight varieties of chicken breasts wrapped in bacon that would be tasty grilled.

Those who favor bratwurst have a hard decision to make considering the made by hand varieties include Philly cheese steak brats, cheddar brats, apple brats, buffalo wings brats, and smoked jalapeno cheddar brats along with original flavor.

Vanessa stated they get a lot of “camper traffic” during the summer to enjoy the different meats they offer but they are very grateful for the wonderful customer base they have year-round.

Another family favorite from Oak Meadow Meats is the bacon. Regular, thick cut, and especially cottage bacon disappear quickly. Other items offered include dried beef, pork chops, pork roast, hams, seasoned pork sausage, old-fashioned hot dogs, ring bologna, side pork, and much more. Oak Meadow Meats also has fish available including haddock and cod. Several types of deli cheese and cheese curds are also on hand for customers to choose from.

According to their website, www.oakmeadowmeats.com, Oak Meadow Meats stands apart from the competition because they have the capability to dry age custom beef. Stop in soon to Oak Meadow Meats and find out for yourself.

Oak Meadow Meats is located at 50 9th Street NE in Harmony. Hours are Monday through Friday 8 a.m.-6 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m.-noon. The phone number is (507) 886-MEAT (6328). For meal inspirations Oak Meadow Meats also highlights recipes on their website.

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