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Ittel’s Meats, a small town meat market with international appeal

Ittel’s Meats has been owned and operated by the Ittel family in Howard Lake for 72 years.

The small-town meat market opened July 19, 1940 after it was bought for $100 by Henry Ittel, current owner, Jim Ittel’s father.

It is one of only two USDA certified meat markets in Wright County, needing the certification due to its national and international business.

“It is probably the most recognized name out of Howard Lake,” Jim said, noting he has customers from all over, including Alaska, who stop in any time they are in town.

Not only can people stop in the local shop to purchase their favorite meat product, they can also have it shipped to them, Jim commented.

In fact, Wednesday Jim had just returned from sending 5 pounds of old-fashioned smoked sausage to a man in Grand Rapids, MI.

The man’s sister had ordered the meat, explaining to Jim that her brother was dying of pancreatic cancer, and wanted to sample the tasty meat one last time.

Jim also has a photo of himself with a man from Japan who brought home a lot of beef jerky after visiting.

Ittel’s Meats also provides meat for 11 local stores: The Marketplace in Annandale and Cokato; Red Rooster Foods in Dassel; The Country Store in Litchfield; Cashwise in Hutchinson; Glenn’s Supervalu in Winsted; Coborn’s in Delano and Buffalo; Cub Foods in Buffalo; and The Pantry in Sartell.

Throughout the years, Ittel’s Meats has won a number of state and regional awards for its products, and remains an award-winning meat market.

Jim is a disabled American vet, who worked with atomics while in the army, he said.

After serving two years in the army, Jim helped his father remodel the meat market before going to meat-cutting school.

Jim then operated and managed meat markets in three PDQ convenience stores in the Twin Cities area, stocking the shelves with Ittel’s meats.

In 1975, Jim decided to move his family back to Howard Lake with a goal of making Ittel’s the most successful meat processing facility in the area.

Today, Ittel’s offers gluten-free summer sausage, and fully-cooked, ready to heat and eat ribs seasoned with Pork Producers seasoning.

One of his current specials is a whole or half hog for $1.79 per pound.

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