Saturday afternoon and early evening, I volunteered to assist other Minnesota Pork Producers in handing out free pork loin samples. The National Pork Board’s We Care trailer and crew were parked in Kirby Puckett Plaza at the Metrodome in Minneapolis. We barbecued and handed out samples of over 300 pounds of loins donated by Hormel and Co.
I ended up with a knife in my hand slicing loins and didn’t get much of a chance to interact with the people arriving for the Minnesota Twins game. However, a willing crew of young volunteers were out in the crowd reminding everyone that today’s pork is not only tasty, delicious and good for you, but also a relative bargain in the meat case.
I don’t know how many people went home with the intention to buy pork, but I know the samples I tasted would have influenced my purchasing decision favorably.
This week marks the beginning of county fair season across the Midwest. Many pork producer groups will be setting up grills and serving chops, brats, ribs and other delicious pork products to their neighbors and friends.
These local efforts to promote pork won’t have a big impact on the amount of pork sold from retail meat cases. That’s the goal of the Pork Board efforts at such events as the Minnesota Twins pre-game where upwards of 20,000 people saw the promotion trailer, etc in a 2 hour time period.
These local efforts are important because for many residents of rural communities, the grills and local promotion efforts put a human face to the production facilities that many often see when driving down rural roads. While there continues to be controversy regarding the changing ownership structure of the pork production industry, the rearing of pigs requires people. The grills and other activities by producers in local communities are good reminders to community members of the impact of pork production activities on their communities economic and social well-being.