Over dinner years ago, friends of Karen and Steve Sanders asked the couple where the delicious sausages they were eating came from.
“We spoke of how we raise our own pigs and have them butchered locally into a variety of pork products,” says Karen. “The discussion continued into us selling it, which is something that had certainly been on my mind for some time.”
The rest, as they say, is history.
The new kid on the block
True Pork is a newcomer to the retail pork market, although the family’s history with raising pigs goes back a quarter of a century. Located near Watford, Ontario, Karen, Steve, and their four boys all take part in caring for the farm’s pigs.
“What is most important to our customers,” says Karen. “Is knowing where their food comes from and giving them the ability to ask us any questions about how we raise our pigs.”
· “What does the term ‘biosecurity’ mean in relation to pork production?”
· “Do you use antibiotics?”
· “What do pigs eat?”
· “What pork cuts are available?”
The ability to ask these questions is crucial in today’s food environment where growing numbers of consumers want to know where their food comes from and how it was raised or grown.
“I believe this in itself builds so much trust between farmers and consumers,” says Karen.
The importance of the personal connection
And when it comes to selling the pork that the family raises?
“My children are at an age where they can be involved in terms of the business and marketing aspect,” says Karen. “So we pulled together a company name, began preparing a logo, and started selling pork products to family and friends through word of mouth.”
One of True Pork’s greatest successes, in fact, has been word of mouth sales.
“After each purchase we seem to find another customer who heard from a prior customer,” says Steve. “Hearing the pleased feedback from consumers is rewarding and truly has been one of our motivators in pushing forward.”
And when asked what sets True Pork apart from other retailers in the area, Steve says, “It’s the direct farmer-to-consumer interaction. Because of that we can meet specific needs of a consumer—such as a request for any specialty cuts or cuts packaged differently, or if they simply had questions.”
The business also delivers its products directly to consumers, which makes people “quite pleased when their order appears at their doorstep.”
The success of raised local
How does selling locally raised pork benefit a business? Just ask Karen.
“Over time there has been a massive disconnect between farmers and consumers,” she says. “However, farmers need to advocate for themselves and essentially that is what we at True Pork are trying to accomplish.
“We love what we do and want to share our story. We are passionate and take pride in providing the highest quality pork products—and by selling our own pork we can have those conversations with consumers and do our part for the good of the entire pork industry.”
To learn more about True Pork, visit their Facebook Page