Heartland Fresh Featured in The Hawkeye

Prime beef from Southeast Iowa to your plate via the web

Couple caters to a growing number of consumers wanting high quality beef free of potentially harmful additives

By Bob Hansen – For the Hawkeye

Donnellson’s Leslie Hulsebus had a growing concern about the quality of food she was purchasing from her local supermarket for her three children and husband. She was also aware that the beef finding its way to the family dinner table was produced in less than a humane manner. But unlike many others that share the same worries, Hulsebus was in a position to do something about her concerns.

The 1996 graduate of Iowa State University, with a degree in Animal Science, was able to combine her farm background and 500 acres of pasture land in Lee County into a cattle operation now producing quality beef sold directly from the producer to the ultimate consumer.

Hulsebus is a native of Muscatine and grew up on a farm that always had cows but after college she had hopes of working with horses. But she quickly realized the financial opportunities of treating horses were not promising and cattle could be more lucrative.  Her initial effort was a cow-calf operation but has since expanded into direct production of beef.

Hulsebus’s operation now has 150 Simmental “momma” cows and each year she moves 75 head from calving through feeding to finish.  The market cattle are processed at a Farmington locker and then Leslie begins making customer calls to move her product. She can also be reached on the Internet at [email protected].

“It is difficult not to be enthusiastic about the operation,” Hulsebus said.  “I feel we can be price competitive with the supermarket chains because we have effectively eliminated the middle man.  We can also assure the customer, that the cattle are always treated in the best possible way. If anyone has a question about what we are doing, we welcome them to stop by and see how we operate.  We are very open.”

Hulsebus is appealing to a growing niche market of American consumers that are willing to make the extra effort to assure their food purchases are not only of the highest quality but also free of potentially harmful additives.  Many of these customers are willing to spend time to get to know the farmer who is helping them put safe, wholesome food on the kitchen table.

The Lee County beef operation produces both traditionally grain finished beef and grass-fed beef and one of the many tasks facing Hulsebus is the careful husbanding of the pasture land.

“We keep our cattle on grass as long as possible,” she explained, “because we have found that a cow is a lot more efficient in getting the most out of a field than a haying operation.”

Hulsebus offers her beef in quarters, halves or as boxed beef and customers run the gamut from individuals wanting to stock their freezer to a growing market of area restaurants

“We tailor our offerings to what the customer wants,” she said. “One of our customers has a family cancer concern and feels that grass-fed beef might be a more healthy option for them.  We also provide beef for customers making their own beef jerky.”

Hulsebus is also a fan of her grass-fed product, feeling it is more flavorful than grass and grain beef.  But she also finds a satisfaction in her cattle operation that extends beyond the dinner table and customer service.

“When I go into a pasture the cattle come running to me,” she explained.  “They know me and they know that I treat them well.  I have been around the cattle industry long enough to know that is often not the case but that is not what I want to do.  Our cattle are treated in a humane manner and I take pride in that.”

Reprinted with permission from The Hawkeye

Hulsebus realizes the market she is competing in is not only highly competitive but rapidly evolving.  She is confident her cattle operation can adapt to changes but insists that quality beef raised in a humane manner is her standard and that will not change.

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Heartland Fresh Family Farm

2699 Highway 27
South Donnellson, Iowa

Mailing address:
Box 188
Donnellson, Iowa 52625

Office: 319-838-2047

Heartland Fresh Family Farm

2699 Highway 27
South Donnellson, Iowa

Mailing address:
Box 188
Donnellson, Iowa 52625

Office: 319-838-2047

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We always stand behind our products and we think you’ll find them absolutely great. If, however, for whatever unfortunate reason, you are not satisfied with your purchase, just give us a call and we’ll give your money back, no questions asked.

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