by Cori Hilsgen
Employees of the St. Joseph Meat Market once again have some bragging rights. They recently brought home a few awards to add to their vast collection, which includes some national awards displayed at the business.
The St. Joseph Meat Market won six awards at the 75th annual convention of the Minnesota Association of Meat Processors.
The awards included grand-champion awards for their braunschweiger and fresh specialty small-diameter sausage (fresh apple wild rice breakfast link); a third-place award for their innovative pork (a smoked hot link), and fourth-place awards for their small diameter traditional sausage (smoked maple breakfast link), prepared food item (bacon wrapped smoked rabbit) and uncooked fresh maple breakfast links.
Meat Market owner Harvey Pfannenstein wanted to emphasize the competition is not so much about winning awards as much as it’s about building relationships in their field. He said the Minnesota Association of Meat Processors has done a wonderful job of bringing people in the field together.
Pfannenstein said they held a pre-convention workshop in the sausage kitchen at the meat market. Scientists from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities brought in portable bleachers and organized and coordinated the workshop. They also explained the science behind making the products.
During the workshop, Kelly Gall Washa from Grand Champion Meats in Foley prepared marinated chicken breasts, Jennifer Dierkes from McDonald’s Meats of Clear Lake prepared flavored beef patties, Jon Christenson from Erdman’s County Market in Kasson prepared marinated tri-tips, a cooked cheesy potato brat and a cooked mac ‘n’ cheese brat.
To celebrate the association’s 75th anniversary, they brought some of each of the product that was made in their sausage kitchen during the workshop to the El Paso Sports Bar and Grill for an evening barbeque, prepared by the Minnesota Barbeque Society. The group was also entertained by comedian C. Willy Miles.
Many people pitched in to make the event a success. Denny and Carol Tamm of El Paso Bar and Grill set up the warmers, chairs and more, and Kyle Pfannenstein of Pfannenstein Transportation bused people back and forth between the meat market, El Paso and the Kelly Inn.
Pfannenstein said the meat businesses now collaborate and work together instead of guarding their recipes as they used to.
“MAMP has really helped to bring the meat industry businesses together,” Pfannenstein said. “We are no longer so competitive but now work together much like a family sharing recipes, problem-solving and sharing solutions.”
Pfannenstein has been the owner of the meat market since 1997. His father owned it before him and he began working there when he was 12 years old. Many other family members have also worked there.
Pfannenstein employs 16 full- and 10 part-time employees. During deer-hunting season and the Christmas holiday, he often employs up to 40 people. The meat market currently processes an average of about 8,000-9,000 pounds of sausage each week.
Pfannenstein is married to Carol and they have five children and 12 grandchildren. His son, Daniel, works full-time at the market, and his daughters also help when needed.
Four boxes of product that were made in the meat-market sausage kitchen were donated to the St. Joseph Community Food Shelf.
More than 500 people attended the MAMP convention in March at the River’s Edge Convention Center in St. Cloud. Attendees participated in daily seminars about industry trends and marketing ideas, worked with problem-solving, and had the option to view 82 display booths of equipment and supplies geared specifically to the meat industry. This year’s show displayed 564 items from 39 plants.