Tom Hertel, Ron Caldwell, Mitch Fitzgibbon and Peter Reuschmann, from Hertel’s Meats.

Alberni Valley pork products are Island Good

Grocery program showcases local flavours

When the local farming industry changed, Port Alberni’s Hertel’s Meats changed with it, and Islanders are savouring the results.

Hertel’s roots reach back to 1963, when Tom Hertel founded the company to service the local hog and cattle farmers. But as feed and transportation costs reduced the number of those farms on the Island, Hertel’s transitioned too, using time-honoured traditions to prepare quality pork products for retail sale.

It’s been a great thing for Island consumers.

Today owned by Tom Hertel and Ron Caldwell, Port Alberni’s Hertel’s Meats remains a family-owned and operated business, whose various pork products are available throughout Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, along with twice-weekly distribution to the Lower Mainland.

“The Island is a pretty unique market – they’ve always supported us,” Caldwell says.

Keeping production “old school” in terms of using quality ingredients without a lot of unwanted additives or fillers creates foods people are proud to put on their dinner table, from bacon and boneless ham to fresh sausage and Bratwurst free of fillers.

“The feedback we get back on our bacon and Irish Gammon Ham is unreal,” says Hertel’s Peter Rueschmann.

“It’s produced the old-fashioned way and is as local as you can possibly get,” Caldwell explains.

“We are most thankful for everybody’s support. We try 100 per cent of the time and it’s hard to put into words – it’s a very, very nice thing that people support local.”

Island made: Island Good

Hertel’s Meats is one of numerous Vancouver Island growers and producers participating in Island Good, an initiative with four Island grocers to increase consumer awareness of Island-made and Island-grown food products.

The Vancouver Island Economic Alliance pilot project, in all Island Thrifty Foods, Country Grocer (except for Country Grocer Salt Spring, Quality Foods and 49th Parallel Grocery stores through August, aims to increase demand for products made and/or grown on the Island.

Shoppers can look for ‘Island Good’ stickers, posters and other signage highlighting these Island products in all store departments.

“Vancouver Islanders believe in local, want to shop local, source local and eat locally sourced food,” says VIEA President George Hanson. “We believe that when shoppers can identify Island Good options, they’ll make more Island Good choices, and that increased demand will lead to increased production, more jobs and more production capacity.”

Look for the Island Good tags, enjoy local food and support our local economy: It’s Island Good!

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