Making Pork a Business and Dining Tradition
“Our family has been raising pigs practically since they got off the Mayflower,” says Andrew Perry, who farms with his father, Blaine, in Northwest Iowa. Andrew grew up also raising sheep, cattle and chickens. A Perry has been farming in Cherokee County for six generations. Blaine and his wife, Darlene, are the third generation to live on the home place near Aurelia.
The Perrys’ business relationship with pork goes way back, but they also enjoy the fruits of their labor. Pork is a mainstay on the Perry’s dinner table. While nutritious, lean, high-protein pork powers the humans in their operation, the Perrys also make sure to provide their pigs with the right diet.
“We feed 80 percent of the corn we raise, so we keep corn for nine months before we haul any of it to town,” explains Blaine, who runs the combine while Andrew hauls grain from the field to the bins. They practice a 50-50 crop rotation and raise seed beans on contract.
When selecting corn hybrids, test weight and quality of seed is their focus. That is why Blaine and Andrew rely on Latham® quality corn hybrids.
“We raise corn that feeds our hogs. Then we use the manure our hogs produce to fertilize our fields,” Blaine says. “When you think about it, our operation comes full circle. Hog manure is ‘organic,’ but many people just don’t realize that manure has such a high value.”
Until 2022, the Perrys were independent pork producers with one nursery that supplied them with the pigs needed for their wean-to-finish operation. Now they custom finish hogs.
Conveniently, a neighbor built a feed mill one mile away. The Perrys haul their corn to the mill, which helps with biosecurity. Blaine and Andrew are the only two who enter their buildings. They credit controlling truck traffic and people inside their facilities with keeping their hogs healthier.
Andrew lives in Alta with his wife, Liz, who is a teacher at Cherokee Community School. They have three daughters: Danika, Alexa and Becca.
When they’re not busy on the farm, the Perrys enjoy taking tractor rides together. All three of Blaine and Darlene’s children — Andrew, Adam and Brooke — enjoy riding together in Peterson’s Annual Trip on Old Tractors (PATOOT).
The Perrys know that pork can adapt to most any meal needs, even desserts, as proven by Liz’s Bacon Bourbon Apple Pie.
Bacon Bourbon Apple Pie
• ½ cup packed brown sugar
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• ¾ cup flour, divided
• 6 Tablespoons cold butter, divided
• 5 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
• 1 pie crust (can use ½ of 14.1-ounce package
of ready-to-use refrigerated pie crust)
• 6 cups of sliced, peeled Golden Delicious
apples (about 6 apples)
• ¾ cup granulated sugar
• 2 Tablespoons bourbon
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Heat oven to 400 degrees.
- Mix brown sugar, cinnamon and 1/2 cup flour
in medium bowl.
- Cut in 1/4 cup (4 Tablespoons)
butter with pastry blender or 2 knives until
mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
- Stir in bacon.
- Place crust in 9-inch pie plate as directed on
package for one-crust filled pie.
- Place apples in large bowl.
- Add granulated sugar, remaining flour, bourbon and vanilla; mix lightly.
Spoon into crust.
- Cut remaining butter into small pieces; place evenly over apples. Cover with crumb topping. Place on baking sheet.
- Bake 30 minutes.
- Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees; bake 30 minutes more or until apples are tender. Cool.