West Fargo company looks to ship meat out of stateNordan Lunde considers his sausage recipes sacred — and even if he did give them out, he says, they would get lost in the translation.
By: By Dave Kolpack, The Associated Press, The Jamestown Sun
WEST FARGO, N.D. (AP) — Nordan Lunde considers his sausage recipes sacred — and even if he did give them out, he says, they would get lost in the translation.
“I would have to give it to you in Norwegian,” he says, smiling.
After building up a solid base of regular customers in the last dozen years, Lunde’s Dakota Sausage Kitchen is looking to ship its products beyond North Dakota. The company hopes the new federal farm law will help, with a provision that allows the interstate transportation of state-inspected meat and poultry.
North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Roger Johnson says the state regulations are no different from the federal rules, but he believes meat processing plant owners will find it easier to deal with state officials who are one phone call away.
“Every question we’ve had, they’ve answered it,” Lunde said.
The new law does not make it as easy as some processors wanted, said Sam Holland, the state veterinarian in South Dakota. It appears federal inspectors still will oversee meat examined by state inspectors, under the new law, he said.
“The real intent was to ship state product with the state mark of inspection across state lines,” Holland said. “In effect, the provision only calls for product with the federal mark of inspection to be shipped.”
Few states among the 27 with state inspection programs have indicated they would participate under the new guidelines, Holland said. “They see very little benefit to it,” he said.
Johnson said the USDA has not yet decided on whether a federal stamp will be required.
“We are arguing that the stamp should contain a state identifier,” he said. “I expect that will be the result, but no one will know for sure until the rules are out.”
Holland, who called meat inspection regulations among the most burdensome and cumbersome in the nation, agreed that smaller processing plants like Dakota Sausage Kitchen would benefit from a state inspected program.
“It’s one thing to try to get a technical answer by trying to call Washington,” he said. “It’s another thing to call Bismarck and Pierre (S.D.) and talk to the director of meat inspection.”
Johnson said Dakota Sausage Kitchen will be the first state-inspected plant in North Dakota’s largest metropolitan area. The company currently has a half-dozen employees, mostly family members.
“We’ll be hiring more, no doubt about it,” Lunde said.
Several restaurants have asked about including Dakota Sausage Kitchen meats on their menus, Lunde said.
“They’ve been here and they’ve bought product, fixed it and tasted it,” he said. “They’ve said this is what they want.”
The company currently offers a variety of brats and sausages, including pepperjack and cheddar cheese, potato, garlic, hot Italian with mozzarella, Cajun andoullie, and green onion. It also makes jerky, beef sticks and pizzas.
“We make everything fresh. We make it and put in the cooler,” said Matthew Lunde, who recently quit his job as a Pierce County deputy sheriff to join his father’s business. “There are no preservatives and nothing is frozen.”
Nordan Lunde was first trained by a German sausage master about 30 years ago, while he was the military. He and his wife, Gwen, started Dakota Sausage Kitchen about 12 years ago in Davenport, south of Fargo, primarily to process deer and make venison sausage.
The Lundes moved to West Fargo in June because most of their retail customers live in the metro area. One of them, Jeff LaPointe of Fargo, said he can understand why restaurants would want to buy their meats.
“I think it’s going to be nice because some of these restaurants could use better cuts of meat,” LaPointe said while looking through the fresh meat counter. “Besides that, they really go out of their way to make sure people are happy.”