A Very Specialized Meat Processing Business in Southwest Minnesota

The upcoming 4th of July holiday means grills are sure to be fired up throughout Minnesota. So it seems fitting that this week, I got to go inside a very special meat processing plant. Yep…I got to see all, or at least almost all, of the process from start to finish.

Now this isn’t just any meat processing plant. It is a kosher meat processing plant in our very own Dawson, Minn. Noah’s Ark can give us a whole new appreciation for its very specialized meat processing, which includes deveining. This is the only place in the United States where it is being done. The business is able to provide kosher meat for many Jewish people who could not eat meat before this certification.

It was great meeting Fischel Ziegelheim, a New Jersey investor working at the plant (and pictured holding a package of “Soloman’s” brand meat for Costco warehouses), with Carl Graber from Ohio who is providing management. They both have long weekly commutes but are committed to making sure Noah’s Ark is successful and provides a very special product.

Why Dawson in southwest Minnesota for this business location? Available meat processing facility, regional workforce and strong agricultural area with livestock make it a prime location.

Want to know more, like…

  • How many rabbis work at Noah’s Ark?
  • How many employees are there?
  • What part of the beef is used for kosher meat?  What is done with the rest of the beef?
  • How many pounds of beef are processed a day at Noah’s Ark?
  • What’s the relationship between Noah’s Ark and Costco?

Post a comment on this blog page and we’ll share more interesting information about this regional business!

Sherry Ristau is the President/CEO of the Southwest Initiative Foundation, where she oversees more than $55 million in total financial assets. Sherry is highly committed to rural Minnesota. She especially strives to celebrate, inspire and advocate for southwest Minnesota’s many great social and economic assets.



  1. Great article! We have some amazing businesses in SW Minnesota.

    Ok, I am curious now! What part of the beef is used for kosher meat?

    • Sherry Ristau says:

      Thanks for your comment, Steve!

      To answer your question…Only the hind of beef is used for kosher processing. All meat not used by Noah’s Ark is sold to another meat processor in Colorado.

  2. Connie VanDerBill Medin says:

    What an interesting place that is! Dawson is a long ways from the East Coast. I’m very impressed and would love to know more about it.

    • Sherry Ristau says:

      You’re right, Connie! This business is a long ways from many of its connections…

      Seven rabbis work at Noah’s Ark plus two additional head rabbis—they come from New York and Israel! Noah’s Ark provides temporary room and board for them in Dawson. The rabbis are here to follow the direction of the head rabbi who is overseeing the product and procedures specializing in kosher certification. All certifications are very strict and must be approved by the head rabbi.

      Costco is one of their newest customers and is adding kosher meat starting in 12 stores around the United State including Boca Raton, New York, New Jersey, Chicago and Baltimore. Costco’s plans are to have kosher meat in 51 of their stores.

      And closer to home, Noah’s Ark employs 110 people that come from as far as Buffalo Lake, Minn.

      Isn’t it amazing what we have right here in our region?

  3. This is a great story. You might not know that Luverne used to be a major source of Kosher beef, most of which was shipped to the East Coast.

    For many years, MID Packing had a plant in Luverne, which was eventually bought by IBP. (Today, it is a Gold’n Plump processing facility.) There were several rabbis that worked there, much as at Dawson.

  4. Glad to see the new management is doing well! How many animals do they process a day now? How much is beef, bison, lamb, or elk?

  5. Are they offering any cooked products yet?

  6. Shellie Wiener says:

    On July 2, 2010 at 10:48 am, Sherry Ristau says:
    “Only the hind of beef is used for kosher processing. All meat not used by Noah’s Ark is sold to another meat processor in Colorado.”

    WRONG – the hind is sold and in the U.S. ONLY the forequarters -Chuck, Brisket, Rib/Breast, Plate, Deckle, etc. is used in kosher meat processing.

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