Grandpa Don’s Market offers farm-fresh meat and fish

By: 
Chad Smith

Sustainably produced food has come to the Rushford area. Grandpa Don’s Market is a third-generation family farm and wholesaler located at the Lind Farm just south of Rushford at 29705 State Highway 43. The Lind family works hard to produce fresh beef, pork, and fish that is delivered straight to your door.

“We raise pasture-fed beef on our farm, heritage breeds of pork, as well as fresh trout on our farm,” said Zach Lind. “I, myself, started a rainbow trout farm called the Driftless Fish Company. What we’re doing with Grandpa Don’s Market is tying all three of our local meat products together and shipping them directly to people’s front doors.”

They provide both fresh cuts and value-added products, including Ribeye steaks, New York Strip, smoked pork chops, fresh trout fillets, and more. The beef and pork are all processed in Dover, Minn., while the trout are processed just over the border in Wisconsin.

The business itself traces back to Mabel, Minn. Don Lind and his brother Shorty were running their father’s business, Lind Meat Market, in Mabel. One day, a customer traded three Hereford calves for the their services. That’s when things began to change for Don, as he enjoyed raising those calves so much, he decided they should sell the meat market. Don Lind took his share of the sale and bought a 160-acre farm.

Over the years, as the farm grew, the second and third generations of Lind family members got involved in the operation. In 2018, they decided to build on the family’s love for good food and share their products with the surrounding area, so Grandpa Don’s Market was born.

From the start, the Lind’s decided one thing that would separate them from other livestock producers is raising their animals differently than traditional methods. “The beef is all out on our hillside pastures, bluffs, and creek bottoms,” Lind said. “They’re out roaming the hillsides instead of in a confined space. From the time that they’re calves up until they’re finished, the animals are outdoors. The pigs are also raised outdoors and can rut in the dirt. There are shelters for them to stay out of the wind and rain, but we don’t use any barns.

“One of the biggest reasons we do things this way is for the health of the animals. You also get a much better product doing things this way, especially in pork. If you’ve ever been in a closed feedlot, some of that smell imparts into the meat products.”

The Lind family was raising a few cows and pigs per year for their own family consumption about five years ago. “We started to give out samples of meat for people to try,” Lind recalled. “We gave out pork chops for people to try and the most common reaction we got was ‘I’ve never had pork chops like that.’ That’s really when the idea for Grandpa Don’s Market began to first take shape.”

The family’s red shed on Highway 43 was “kind of an incubator” business space for Driftless Fish Co. They licensed it for wholesale food handling and installed walk-in freezers. As the fish business continued to grow, the Linds decided to package it together with the beef and pork products.

“We’re early on in the business,” Lind said. “We’re looking forward to expanding the business beyond local markets as we currently ship to the tri-state area, including Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin. Our orders ship overnight and are packaged in dry ice. However, while we want to ultimately expand our boundaries, we also want to make sure we keep the products available to our local markets too.

“Of course, if you are local and want to pick up products, you get a better rate,” Lind chuckled. “Our new website is up and running, so customers can place their orders online. People can also find us on Facebook and Instagram.”

According to their Facebook page, Dave and Karla Lind, along with their four children Tori (Bob) Burmester, Zach Lind, Kenzie (Isaac) Fruechte, and Kobe Lind are officially launching Grandpa Don’s Meats. “Even the grandkids get involved,” said Lind. “They’re the ones to sample the first products. We have a lot of value-added products like jalapeno cheddar sticks and honey pineapple pork sticks. We give those to the kids first to see what they think. If they give us a thumbs-up, we think the adults will like it too,” he said.

Grandpa Don’s Market website is up and running, and orders can be placed at www.grandpadonsmarket.com.