Custom Butcher Family Farm

Bart Ver Mulm
Orange Creek Farms
Rock Valley, IA
Orange Creek Farms is a small family farm focused on high quality meats from Angus Cattle, Berkshire Hogs and Kathadin Lambs. We place an emphasis on growing locally and nationally by providing the best in service and quality while also working to provide custom cuts to all our customers.
Orange Creek Farms has officially been in business for about two years. In a region dominated by large (and often factory type) farms, we have set ourselves apart by going back to basics and raising animals the "old fashion" way. We don't simply dump feed and run. We spend time in our animals pens on a daily basis. We avoid the use of growth hormones and avoid antibiotics when possible. We focus on animal welfare and provide our animals plenty of open space which results in the most tender meats. Our meat has gained a growing reputation both regionally and nationally.

Comments from our customers include "the best ribeye steaks I have had...I've cooked many over the years, that is one fine piece of beef," "I've eaten all kinds of high quality beef and yours is standing alone in a very large market," "burgers are fire too." Word is quickly spreading about the quality product we carry. In addition to regional markets we serve we have placed a focus on growing nationally which has yielded shipping our meat from New York to Florida, and California to Alaska and just about everywhere in between.

As Orange Creek Farms currently operates, the majority of our business is done at regional Farmers Markets. In the two years of working at markets we have gone from one market to four and have seen our sales more than triple just in the area of farmers markets. As we continue to develop our presence at our markets we anticipate doubling our sales at our newer markets over the next year as we continue to learn what our customers unique tastes are at the different markets.

Our goal as a producer is to continue to strive towards being a unique option in a region and industry that is driven by price and perceived quality. With no shortage of options available to local consumers when it comes to meat, we make decisions based on how to provide the highest in quality with a mind to always be able to say "yes" to the customer.
We are applying for the Dream Big, Grow Here contest as a way to continue to meet the needs of our customers. We are currently at capacity when it comes to storage and need to expand as we anticipate needing twice as much room for next year's markets. Our future purchases include a storage/building unit that will house a walk in freezer, walk in cooler, certified kitchen and small storefront for on our farm. The initial stage will see the purchase of the building unit and building of the walk in freezer. We currently use 10 freezers of varying sizes to store our meat. With a walk in freezer we will be able to eliminate the need for those freezers and develop a better inventory system where we will be able to see our stock as opposed to having things stacked on top of each other.

Any additional funds left from this contest will go towards building the kitchen which will be built with an eye towards USDA certification so we can manage some of the processing aspect in our own backyard in order to better customize to our customers needs and allow us to invest more money into the growth of our farm.

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