Female-owned and operated butcher shop works to bring unique breed of pig back from the brink (and to market) with Jensen Reserve

Dec 28th, 2021

It may seem like a contradiction – pork that tastes like beef and a prized Chinese breed of pig being raised in Georgia. But then again, you haven’t met Laura Jensen, owner of Jensen Reserve.

Market Wagon has been her most effective tool to cultivate a wide range of customers who are just as passionate about artisan products and consuming a cleaner alternative to mass-produced products that often don’t consider consumer health. The platform brings Jensen Reserve’s 10 acres in rural Loganville to a 19-county region including all of downtown Atlanta with just a single drop-off point.

Laura’s story begins in 2015 when she was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called psoriatic arthritis. She soon discovered that by eating more nutritious foods, her condition greatly improved and her joints didn’t stiffen up.

Her next big discovery happened in 2016 when she learned about the Meishan breed of pig. It is perhaps the oldest breed of domesticated pig in the world—bred to be docile and sedentary. They are also much less destructive to the land itself and are ideal for a small homestead.

“It’s so much easier, safer and better for the long haul,” Laura said. “We made the switch and never looked back.”

Laura is the current president of the American Meishan Breeders Association and estimates there are roughly 350 registered Meishan hogs in the United States, almost exponential growth from the 12 hogs in 2016. The Livestock Conservancy estimates the Meishan breed has fewer than 2,000 registered animals worldwide. Laura believes things have really turned the corner in America with more than 60 breeders raising Meishan today.

As for the Meishan pork itself, Laura said it’s incredibly tender, almost like beef. She said most people think it’s prime rib in a blind taste test and are in utter disbelief when they find out it’s pork.

Business for Jensen Reserve shot up 800% when the pandemic began. Things have hardly slowed ever since for the butcher shop whose 9 employees are all women.

“Market Wagon has provided the delivery options we need to help expand our options and market that we otherwise couldn’t reach,” Laura said.

Unlike traditional farmers markets, Market Wagon has allowed Laura and the team at Jensen Reserve the freedom to forget the hassle of loading up the vehicle, truck, and freezer with hope in their eyes, only to return hours later with little to show for it. Plus,  delivery never get canceled because of bad weather. Instead, Jensen Reserve is realizing consistent revenue utilizing the convenient delivery features and platform of Market Wagon. 

“Instead of having our delivery program, we now work with Market Wagon for delivery because they can do it better,” Laura said. 

Jensen Reserve is the only place in the world making luxurious Meishan pork prosciutto. The butcher shop also offers charcuterie kits with Meishan products as the centerpiece.

But the operation sells a lot more than just pork. Laura personally recommends the bacon-wrapped chicken which has been stuffed with Jensen Reserve’s own umami-style French Onion seasoning. She says it’s a really versatile food—it goes great on top of a chilled salad or fits perfectly at a high-end dinner party. And it can all be found on Market Wagon.

“I will never give up flavor for eating clean and healthy,” Laura says. And she means it, thanks to her disease. It means all her seasonings are gluten-free, sugar-free and soy-free too.