Kristine M. Kierzek
Before he even graduated from high school, Raymond’s Justin Miklaszewski started his business, Two Creek Farms.
Now he’s 22, and this year he graduated from UW-Whitewater and opened his first retail store, Two Creek Farms in Union Grove.
Without a full freezer, Miklaszewski might not have started selling meat while still in high school. The first year he started with just a handful of Black Angus. People responded by the hundreds to his Facebook posts, and he saw a need he could fill.
Now Two Creek Farms also offers pork, chicken and turkey as well as cheese. It works with Johnson Sausage Shoppe in Rio for processing and offers everything from sausages and jerky to steaks and custom cuts. With online shopping and delivery through Market Wagon, sales have grown beyond his imagination and his customer base spans from Madison to Chicago.
In addition to running the agriculture and food business, Miklaszewski graduated this year from UW-Whitewater with a double major in General Business and Business Management and a minor in International Sales.
Next, he is working on opening a second outlet, with a 2023 target in Whitefish Bay or Oak Creek.
Farm family roots
I started when I was 16. We showed pigs all through my younger 4H and FFA years. One year we went to State Fair, August 2016. We raised two pigs and we didn’t sell them. We had to bring them back.
Our family freezers were full, so we decided to sell them to our family or friends. No one was really interested or they already had a bunch of meat so I decided to post on Facebook. Within an hour I had 250 comments asking if he was available. It was shocking to me. There is definitely a need in our region.
The following year I bought more pigs and a few steers, only about five. Very small scale. I was still working part-time in a forestry company and in 4H and FFA. It was fun money-wise.
Then that year we posted on Facebook and it exploded again. People loved that he was raised in Union Grove, Raymond and Racine County. People started calling me for a quarter or half the beef. It only grew. Fortunately, my parents have 20 acres in Raymond. My dad grew up on a dairy farm, although my family sold it before I was born, but there is a family background in cattle.
People want custom cuts
In 2018, I did my very first farmer’s market in Racine. We were going to strictly try to sell beef in bulk. That’s all I had. It was slow. we had a few sales here and there, but it wasn’t generating enough to stay in that market.
A few families asked if I had beef sticks or summer sausage and jerky or steaks. No, but we can.
We hung beef and handled pork at a processing plant in Rio at the Johnson Sausage Shoppe. I spoke to Chris Johnson, the owner. How much would it cost and take me to take that beef and turn it into cuts, steaks, summer sausages, ground beef and roasts? Once we got that in place in the markets, it took off.
Her favorite haircut
The sirloin, 100%.
We also looked at lambs, chickens and turkeys. It was a need that we saw. We just kept growing. We had 50 to 80 people stopping by the house every day. It must have been a bit overwhelming. It was time to have a storefront or a place where I could bring customers to me, rather than to my house.
On January 22, 2022, I opened my first retail store in Union Grove.
He got so big so fast. We had to work with other farmers in the Union Grove area to get our supplies. They are generous enough to raise the animals I buy, plus a lease. There’s no way I can magically prepare beef, so when we run out of resources, I work with other families who raise beef the same way we do.
Market Wagon expands its audience
Market Wagon was a watershed moment for us in 2020. We reached so many more customers this way (with online ordering and local delivery) compared to direct marketing through Facebook or radio ads. … It works well. Anyone can go to their phone or computer and search for rib eye steaks or chuck roast or lamb shanks, beef sticks, cheese.
I prefer when people order from Market Wagon because it gives us more information on what to prepare for customers than when you go to farmers markets. Let’s say we sell our T-bones or our ribeyes at farmers markets because we have several customers who come asking for them. Then I have to say “I sold you have to wait until next week” when I still have a bunch in my freezer but I didn’t know how much to bring to market because some weeks are slow some are busy.
We can still fulfill orders quickly and efficiently through Market Wagon. I know that every Monday I need this and that for my Tuesday market drop. Market Wagon then delivers it to customers, which is super cool. I don’t have to charge the customer extra for shipping. This shipping for a small business is expensive and difficult.
future of the farm
I always, always, 100% no matter the day, I always say get involved with 4H or FFA if you are interested in farming. That’s how it started for me.
I grew up in a family that had farming experience, but when I was young we lived in Racine and had a dog and a cat, that was all. My parents decided to go to the country and once that happened we all love animals, we want to be on a hobby farm or a small farm. That’s what we did. Get involved with 4H and FFA, it’s the best way to know if you like it or not.
Beef and beyond
All of our beef that we sell for food consumption is Black Angus. For pork, we do mostly Berkshire, but some mixed crosses with Berkshire. It really is a tastier meat if people know pork, it has a better fat content. We make Cornish crossbreeds for our poultry, and bronze turkeys…
We still have turkey products, legs and wings and legs and breasts, but we don’t sell as many whole turkeys over the course of the year.
Anticipate the holidays
We are now starting to take orders for Thanksgiving. We’re making corned beef for St. Patrick’s Day. We make hams for Christmas or Thanksgiving. Pretty much anything you would cook in season, we do. It just depends on what a customer really wants.
Our biggest seller is our steaks. Still.
We receive requests. We are asked a lot of cow’s tongue, heart, beef or pork liver, chicken feet. He comes and goes. Sometimes I think I hear it all and someone calls and asks for something and I have to go get it, because in the meat industry there are so many different terms and names.
The absolute must was a good, reliable, efficient and user-friendly processing plant. We don’t process any of our own stuff. We outsource this to Johnson Sausage Shoppe in Rio.
I don’t have the funds to open a facility and a packaging plant. It’s millions of dollars. For me, it’s not worth doing it myself yet.
What inspires him?
Something I started when I was 16 grew so quickly. I don’t want to give up because I’ve already come so far. This summer, I employed 23 employees. I’m 22 years old. I opened my first retail store at age 21 while still in college.
It’s a pride for me, I want to see how much I can do and how much I can develop this and how many families I can feed. Besides, I never feel like I’m working.
After:Kurt Schulz Deli is transforming into a breakfast destination, with cakes, pastries and meat
Fork. Spoon. Life. explores the everyday relationship that local notables (both within and outside the food community) have with food. To suggest future personalities to profile, email [email protected]
If you are going to
What: Two Brook Farms, 1360 15th Ave, Union Grove.
When: Open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday
Farmers markets; Two Creek Farms can also be found at the Mukwonago and Okauchee (Lions Market) farmers’ markets on Wednesdays; Kenosha (Harbor Market), Oak Creek and Whitefish Bay on Saturday; and Riverwest on Sundays.
Market Cart: Delivery can be ordered at marketwagon.com