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Beef Goes From His Farm To His Traveling Food Truck
As a lifelong “foodie”, DuWayne Ditterich first got the idea of owning a food truck when he was a kid. Now, at 48, he is living out that dream with The Smoke Wagon which serves up beef brisket and other beef products that he raises on his 1,000-acre Vergas, Minn., farm.
“We’re farm-to-plate 100 percent,” he says. “We’re fully self-contained and integrated. A calf is born on the farm and served by us out of a food trailer.”
His journey began in 2007 when he purchased the 160-acre farm that had been in his family but hadn’t been farmed since his grandfather owned it. Not happy with the quality of beef he found on the market, he decided to raise his own beef and came up with Angus crosses with Limousin and Simmental.
Three years ago, when a cousin said he thought Ditterich’s beef was the best he’d ever tasted, Ditterich was inspired to open a store on the farm to sell beef by the package, quarter or half. He increased his herd to about 40 cows, feeding out 150 head a year (including cattle from two other ranchers.) The meat is butchered and packaged at a nearby locker plant. The farm store is open Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and by appointment. While he does some shipping, most is sold locally - to restaurants, stores, and to local people or tourists visiting the many lakes that surround his farm.
To promote his beef, Ditterich puts on “sample” days at the farm cooking beef in a smoker. “People showed a lot of interest,” he recalls. “So when we had an opportunity to buy a food truck, I bought it on a whim.”
The 24-ft. long trailer turned out to be a good investment, with a quality commercial-grade smoker that easily passed inspection in 2019. Before the summer was over, he had cooked with it at 30 events in the area with the help of his three sons (ages 8 to 20) and his wife.
“I cook for the people, not for judges. I cook what people want, and we use high quality products,” he says.
Besides his own beef, he buys pork and chicken. Brisket and baby back ribs are always on the menu. Depending on the occasion, he also makes prime rib, pulled pork, smoked shrimp and other entrees.
“Our product sells itself,” Ditterich says. He anticipates he’ll be working in the food truck 120 days in 2020 at town celebrations, fairs, weddings, reunions and other gatherings. Though that might become challenging as he still has farm chores including putting up 800 acres of hay, he is eager to pursue his childhood dream.
“It’s kind of different,” he laughs. “I don’t know what I’m going to do when I grow up.”
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, DuWayne Ditterich, 43693 Co. Hwy. 41, Vergas, Minn. 56587 (ph 320 424-0291; www.ditterichfamilyfarm.com; ditterichfamilyfarm@gmail.com; Facebook: Ditterich Family Farm).

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2020 - Volume #44, Issue #2