The pig farmer

Dateline: Tue 07 Apr 2009

Jolene Ketzenberger did a good roundup today in a Page 1 story in the Indianapolis Star about the inroads Hoosier farmers are making selling local products to big-name restaurants. ("The New Farmers Markets").

She included Greg Gunthrop, a pig farmer in Northern Indiana, whose first client was a ritzy Chicago restaurant. (He is located in LaGrange, which puts his market closer to Chicago, but Jolene reports that he now sells not only in Chi but in Detroit and Indianapolis as well. Bully).

I heard Gunthrop speak at a Sustainable Farms conference in Putnam County a few years ago. He was hilarious and dead-pan as he described calling Charlie Trotter's in Chicago with an offer to sell them a pig, getting the green light, then loading the slaughtered whole hog into the back of a little hatchback GEO, and driving up to Chicago and along the Gold Coast, Lake Shore Drive, etc. -- not exactly his home turf.

But when he finally located Trotter's, he said, he was treated like a prince (of pigs) and given the grand tour: they showed him the impressive art collection gracing the walls as well as the wine collection, etc. Of course, he had his muddy jeans on. But no matter.

Anyhow, this is just a little yarn about a Hoosier who made good. (And did so without much backing from the state of Indiana -- one point Gunthrop made at the conference was that Indiana's Department of Ag had a deaf ear when it came to the pleas of small farmers).

Others have already reported on Gunthrop's success, but it's good to know that he is now selling to restaurants in the capital of his home state.

Also, good for the other farmers featured and may their ranks increase.


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