Catherine & Rick Topel, Smoky Mountain Mangalitsa, LLC
Walk-In Freezer Expansion
Grant Award: $6,000
With success supplying quality whole hog specialty breed (Mangalitsa) carcasses to restaurants, the Topel’s are moving to retail sales of their pork and lard products. In response to COVID, Catherine and Rick have decided to add a retail outlet to their operation two years earlier than they originally planned. They have added a large walk-in freezer which will allow them to successfully process, transport, store and ship meat.
Due to limited capacity in processing plants in WNC due to COVID, killing and processing many animals at one time is now required. The walk-in freezer will allow them to safely store a variety of cut meats, providing an ample inventory for retail customers. The walk-in freezer will provide adequate storage space and flexibility to allow them to continue processing their animals (as many as 20 at a time) into the future.
Smoky Mountain Mangalitsa is Animal Welfare approved and uses only non-GMO feed. They sell their signature whole carcasses to upscale restaurants, exhibits at conferences to promote/sell their lard, and recently set up an extremely successful online ordering and pick-up system for retail sales.