The Pork Tent and the Indiana State Fair; most of us don’t know a time that the two didn’t coexist. The Indiana Pork Producers are celebrating 50 years of serving pork at the State Fair this year. Jeanette Merritt is the Director of Checkoff Programs for Indiana Pork Producers and she talked to HAT about how far they’ve come.
“We started with just a concrete slab and a couple of grills out there serving pork burgers and pork chops to fairgoers. We’ve progressed now to 3 tents all across the grounds and thousands and thousands of customers and families who make the pork tents a priority. And for us that’s so important because it means consumers are learning more about pork and they’re appreciating it here, and hopefully putting it on their table when they go home.”
Merritt says this is a big fundraising event as well.
“All the funds we raise here at the Indiana State Fair in our 3 tents go to support the programming that Indiana Pork Producers are able to do throughout the year. It helps us do some of our lobbying efforts with our lawmakers and some different projects. So, it’s really great that not only our pork farmers that are here, the kids showing the hogs in the hog barns will come and eat at the tents, but so many other customers come here as well and all of that goes back to support our industry.”
The Pork Tents have become known for their interesting signature pork dish served each year at the fair. Dreamt up for this year’s fair, their Potatchoes.
“Everybody loves our potatoes. They go through a special roasting process and they’re just delicious. So, we decided to put the pulled pork barbecue on top of that. So, they’re kind of like a nacho-esque type of food. We added sour cream, cheese, pico de gallo, and jalapenos just to make it messy and make it really delicious.”
Wednesday is Pork Day at the State Fair. A ticket for free admission was printed in the Monday IndyStar.