Burnsville-based Valley Natural Foods announced it will open a $2 million wholesale processing plant, Valley Natural Meats, Inc., in Northfield, Minnesota.
Valley Natural Foods acquired 16 acres of land, including a building that will be retrofitted to meet the growing demand of livestock producers and serve the needs of family farms in 10 Southern Minnesota counties.
Valley Natural Meats, a subsidiary of Valley Natural Foods, will feature a 4,400-square-foot MDA- and organic-certified meat processing plant and 4,000-square-foot holding barn. The plant also will manufacture specialty and smoked and cured meats, jerky, hams and sausages for wholesale and retail customers. The company holds a permit to later add two 30×70-foot, hoop-type buildings for growing plants, herbs and flowers.
According to data from the Wallace Center, since 2007, the demand for grass-fed and organic meat and meat products has grown 30 percent. Grass-fed beef will comprise up to 40 percent of the total beef market sector within the next 10 years, with increasing consumer demand and interest in locally produced and processed meat products.
Located at 1595 57th St. W in Northfield, Valley Natural Meats will begin operations later this year by processing approximately 25 head per day, including cattle and hogs. Phase two operations, planned for 2017, will include becoming USDA-certified to allow the sale of products outside of Minnesota and the processing of lamb and goats. Long-term processing of deer and bison is planned for 2018. Phase one construction will begin this August and is expected to be completed and operational in November 2016.