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About Us

Where we started…

Mangalitsa Estates is the name that our family decided to use when we started working with the Mangalitsa or “Wooly Pigs”.  Kerns Farms has been in the swine seed stock business since 1966.  During the past 48 years, we have pursued either producing superior swine genetics or the pigs that produce the final product demanded by consumers and chefs.

It started as a 4-H project and developed into seed stock operation that supplied genetics to the local swine producers.  I studied Animal Science at Iowa State University majoring in swine genetics and meat science.  It was here that I met what was to my life’s mentor, world renowned swine geneticist, Dr. Lauren Christian.  I also worked with Dr. Lanoy Hazel, the Chair of Animal Science; Dr. Ed Kline, one of the leading meat quality experts at the time and Al Christian, a master breeder and herdsman of the ISU Swine teaching farm where outstanding Duroc s and Berkshires were bred for performance and superior meat quality long before the industry was talking about meat quality.  I had the opportunity to work for International Livestock Improvement Services Incorporated owned by these gentlemen, doing what was the first use of ultrasound to evaluate body composition in swine.  I traveled the Midwest, Southeast and Eastern Corn belt States working the leading swine breeders, swine research universities and swine testing stations.  Through these experiences and acquaintances, I had the opportunity to see the diversity of the American swine gene pool and meet the leaders and future leaders of the swine industry.

All during my time at college, my Mother and Brother, kept the family seed stock business growing.  We started with Hampshire’s and in the mid-seventies under Dr. Christian’s guidance; we imported Landrace from Sweden and Canada to introduce maternal Landrace genetics to the United States.  Our Landrace herd was called “KK Landrace”.  It grew into North America’s largest imported Landrace herd.  We supplied genetics to breeders and commercial producers in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Philippines, China and several countries in Central and South America.  In the early eighties, Durocs and Large Whites were added to give our clients a total genetic package from the same health source.

In June of 1991, we had the opportunity to purchase International Boar Semen in Eldora, Iowa.  IBS as International Boar Semen was known started in 1976.  It was the first artificial insemination center in North America.  They were the pioneers of frozen semen in swine.  In the early eighties, they also started selling fresh chilled swine semen.  Their mission was to supply genetics from the leading performance tested and higher meat quality boars available.  Our goal was to expand the customer base of Kerns Farms and KK Landrace via the use of swine semen.    IBS sells swine genetics world-wide.  IBS has the largest collection of Heritage Breeds standing at stud in North America.

Then in 1996, we went in search of a Terminal Sire that would add both superior meat quality and performance.  Our search led us to Multigene, S. A. in France, importing the Musclor breed of pigs to the United States.  Our goal of making a superior Terminal sire called the DRUTM, combining the American Duroc, known for their excellent growth and marbling of their meat with the French Musclor.  This same genetic line had their own trademark in the meat counters of France.  The DRU was the first terminal line that combined the production traits needed by the commercial industry with the needed meat quality traits that the consumers and chefs were wanting.

In 2010, a close friend whose company was processing and selling Heritage Berkshires to the food service industry and “White Table Cloth Chefs” in this country, needed help in establishing a consistent source of superior meat quality Berkshires in numbers to supply his clients demand.  Up until that time, Berkshires were acquired from many different sources of Berkshire genetics.  They lacked the consistency desired by his clients. We acquired the best available Heritage Berkshires and started a genetic nucleus herd known as Heirloom Swine Farm, to supply the world’s best Berkshire genetics to his purebred Berkshire production system.   Shortly after, his Japanese grocery clients wanted a pork product with marbling similar to that of “Kobe beef”.  We studied the genetic options available and found the Mangalitsa from Eastern Europe that Heath Putman had imported in 2007, had the desired qualities that was needed to make the “Gourmet pork” product being sought by the leading chefs in this country.  The Mangalitsa pork is bright red with marbling similar “Kobe beef”.

We were very fortunate to obtain a genetic start from Mr. Putnam to start our Mangalitsa nucleus, now known as Mangalitsa Estates.  We now have the second largest herd of Mangalitsa pigs in North America.  When people started finding out that we had the pure Mangalitsa pigs, the demand has for the purebreds has been overwhelming.  We have put the Japanese project on hold for a while to develop the pure Mangalitsa herd to supply America’s Chefs with Mangalitsa Estates “Five Star Gourmet Pork”.

Please call us at 641-344-5166 to inquire about our Mangalitsa genetics or Mangalitsa pork and how you can have it in your restaurant, meat counter, or home!


 
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About Our Gourmet Antibiotic

Free Pork

Our Mangalitsa pigs are fed an all-natural vegetarian diet with no antibiotics.  These hogs are developed in loose housing and fed the Wheat or Barley diet the last 60 days or so.  They are typically harvested between 11-18 months age.  Harvesting the animals at an older age allows them to develop their wonderful flavor.  There is a limited supply of this product.  If you want a continuous supply, we can arrange a continuous supply.  Contact us to make arrangements. Uses: These animals are suitable for makers of high end specialty meats and white table cloth restaurants.  These pigs are not for everyone.  Due to high cost and the high fat to meat ratio chefs must be familiar with seam butchery and tradional European methods to get the most out of the Mangalitsa carcass.  Chefs like to be able to use the large amounts of high quality fat to create unique products from the Mangalitsa. Our pigs will finish out somewhere between 8 months to 12 months.  They still have a highly desirable fat cover with the extreme marbling and color characteristics that have made the Mangalitsa world famous.

CUSTOMIZED PRODUCTS

MANGBO (A Mangalitsa Cross): A better balance between meat and fat.  These crosses provide more lean content with less external body fat, but with more flavor, color and marbling than Berkshire or commodity pork that is used by most restaurants.  We work with our customers to find the cross that fits your needs typically ranging from 25-75%.

PRODUCT ACCESSIBILITY: You can order direct from us or contact us to find a distributor near you.

SUPPLY: We try to farrow year round so as to have a steady supply.

We can supply the following products.  Contact us for pricing.
Pure Mangalitsa or Mango (see details of our Mango line further above):

  • Whole Carcass

  • Half Carcass

  • Primal Cuts

  • Speciality Products:

  • – Ground Pork

  • – Breakfast Sausage

  • – Bacon

  • – Butts

  • – Loins

  • – Hams

  • – Jowls

  • – Ribs


 
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About Our Herd

MANGALITSAS OR “WOOLY PIGS”

The Mangalitsas were imported  from Europe by Heath Putman of Wooly Pigs in the early 2000’s.  The breed has been famous since its creation in 1833 by the Hungarian Royal Archduke Jozef.  They are often referred to as “Wooly Pigs” due to their wooly like hair.  They are recognized as a Heritage Swine Breed.   Our initial stock was the Swallow Bellied variety of Mangalitsa selected from the Putman’s Sulser herd in Iowa.  We started with three male lines and 3 female lines.  We are in the process of importing more lines from Europe next Spring.  We would like to thank Heath and John in their help in starting this herd.  We are also cooperating with a herd in north central Illinois to spread our genetics in different locations for biosecurity and market accessability.  This will help us maintain an excellent genetic diversity for the long term health of our herd and the breed in this country.

MANGALITSA RAISED PORK TASTES SO DIFFERENT FROM MORE CONVENTIONAL PORK BREEDS

Mangalitsa pigs are a classified “lard-type” breed. However, Mangalitsa pigs actually have more unsaturated fat than today’s conventionally bred lean pigs. The meat is a bright red in color with marbling compared to that of Wagyu cattle.  When cooked, Mangalitsa pork is exceptionally, juicy, tender, and marbled. Chefs rave about the meat and lard’s versatility—the lard can be whipped, braised, smoked and prepared in many different ways.  The chefs don’t need to dress up the meat’s flavor with excess salt or spices. When cured, Mangalitsa meat makes unsurpassed bacon, hams, charcuterie, and salamis, due to the high monounsaturated fat content.  Commercially produced pork is high polyunsaturated fat.

OUR MANGALITSA PIGS: SUSTAINABLE RAISED

We raise our Mangalitsa pigs on an all-natural diet.  They are never injected with hormones or antibiotics or fed anything but all-natural feedstuffs.  We are the only Mangalitsa herd that is antibiotic free.  You benefit from pork that has a healthier blend of fats, higher levels of oleic acids, and a product untainted by artificial additives.

FULLBLOOD BREEDING STOCK AVAILABLE

Swallow Bellied Mangalitsa boars, gilts and bred gilts available for those who prefer to raise their own Mangalitsa pork.  We will work with you to start your herd with the age of pigs that you would like.  We can offer you genetic packages to get started.  Due to the limited gene pool in the United States, we will help you keep the amount of inbreeding to a minimum.  We have the second largest herd of Mangalitsa’s in North America. We can help you get your pigs delivered several different ways.  We use our own bio-secure ground transport or if the pigs are young, we can arrange flights. If you do not want to maintain a Mangalitsa boar on your farm, we have Mangalitsa semen available from our artificial insemination center, International Boar Semen in Eldora, Iowa. Please contact them at 800-247-7877 for more information and help in getting started with artificial insemination.  Yes, you can “AI” Mangalitsa’s, we do all of the time.  Please call me to discuss the details. FEEDERS AND ROASTER PIGS:   We can provide 8 to 16 week old barrows to those wishing to custom feed their own pigs at home or they can be used as roaster pigs.  We have pure Mangalitsa and F1 Berkshire x Mangalitsa crosses.