Ebert Enterprises adds on-farm eatery, meat processing plant to achieve farm to table goal
Correspondent, Wisconsin State Farmer
ALGOMA ‒ Knowing where food comes from is becoming increasingly important to many consumers today. People like to know their food is produced locally and even more important, they like to be able to see the farm where their food is produced.
The Ebert family of Algoma has been working for years to finish the farm-to-fork “loop” where the end consumer is able to reap the benefits of eating food that was ethically and humanely created and controlled through each step: planting, growing, harvesting, storing and processing.
Ebert Enterprises, homesteaded in 1868, is a seventh-generation dairy and beef farm in rural Algoma that is operated by the Ebert family and a team of 90 valued employees.
We are proud of our heritage,” said Renee Ebert. “We credit the family before us for where we are today.”
The family’s most recent addition to the business in order to complete the loop, has been building an on-farm meat processing facility and subsequently purchasing Salmons Meat Products in Luxemburg. The final touch was opening their on-farm restaurant, Homestead Kitchen and Tap.
“We bought the meat market in March 2020,” she said. “It was the year of COVID so we had some challenges; we sold a lot of hot dogs that year.”
Randy and Renee Ebert, along with their children, Jordan and Whitney, are fully involved in the day-to-day operations of their farm and businesses. Jordan works full-time while Whitney has a full-time job as the athletic director at the local fitness center connected to Algoma High School but finds time to assist with marketing at the family’s businesses along with Kirstin another full-time marketing team member.
Together the family designed and built Homestead Kitchen, carefully planning all the other aspects involved in completing the circle of life and creating a business that is truly “farm-to-fork.”
“For years, we’ve been talking about taking our product to the consumer,” Randy Ebert said. “(However), we never had a goal of owning a restaurant. It’s more about completing the circle of life.”
“This gives us the opportunity to use our own meat and cheese produced by Agropur where we ship our milk and to utilize locally produced foods, something our customers seem to really appreciate,” Renee said.
Jordan says the restaurant and meat market allows the family to have a close, personal relationship with the customer.
“That’s something you don’t get at the wholesale level,” he said.
In a recent interview, family members were quick to point out that the farm’s day-to-day success is largely credited to their valued employees “behind the scenes” who work to keep the cows and beef healthy and happy.
Renee admits it can be a challenge to manage a farm that large and also keep a faithful staff of employees. While many farms days struggle to find reliable help, she has found that since hiring a Human Resources manager on the farm, they have been fortunate to retain a faithful staff of dedicated workers which contributes to the overall success of the businesses.
Homestead Kitchen and Tap is housed inside a red, round rural restaurant that on the outside,mirrors the round milking parlor on the farm located a couple of miles down the road. The unique structure is easy to find on the corner of County D and Hwy 54.
The inside of the restaurant is decorated with large photos of the farm and family, cows and crops along with numerous farm-related antiques. Above the bar is a windmill symbolizing the farm’s motto, “As the windmill goes around, so does a quality product in the farm-to-fork process at Ebert Enterprises.”