What do the Olympics, Aaron Rodgers, Ryan Braun and some Red Angus cattle from New London all have in common? They all have ties to Hidden Creek Farms just south of New London off of county W on Cut-off Road.
The farm was started in the mid 1990s by Mike Polaski who also owns a horse farm in West Bend specializing in show jumping horses. One of his horses was one point away from being a USA entry in the London Olympics.
Nestled on 1,100 acres, there are just over 230 brood beef cows (100 registered Red Angus). With the soon to be weaned calves, along with steers and bulls, the farm typically is managing about 600 cattle. Besides their two locations in New London, 40 steers are being fed out at a Kaukauna location. They employ four full time employees with an additional four part-time employees.
Their niche market is marketing four beef to around nine restaurants in the Milwaukee area. Most of these restaurants are five-star types. Recently, the 8-Twelve (jersey numbers of the Milwaukee Brewers outfielder and Green Bay Packers quarterback) was opened on July fifth in Brookfield with plans for a potential restaurant in the Fox Valley. Check out their menu where they tout homegrown heroes and homegrown food at www.8-twelve.com/story.php
Prime meat depends on marbling or fat being deposited within the muscle. An ultrasound is used to check the marbling at the 13th rib before heading to market. Marbling adds flavor and juiciness to the steaks. Hidden Creek is also crossing their nationally known red angus with a Japanese breed known as Waygu, which is known for their prime marbling.
The dry summer is definitely going to affect the farm’s numbers for the winter. The cattle typically eat 3,000 round bales of hay each winter. Farm Manager John Kent noted that they will probably have to sell 60-80 cows this fall because of the diminished feed supply.
Besides their high quality beef, Hidden Creek farm is one of only two places in the U.S. that raises a rare breed of pig called Mangalitsa, originally from Austria and Hungary. The long haired pig is fed an oats diet to create up to six inches of backfat or lard. With a low melting point, chefs use this lard in cooking their desserts and in making ice cream.
Hidden Creek’s Red angus are shown at National Shows like Denver, Fort Worth, Texas, American Royal in Kansas City and Missouri Shows. Internationally, fertilized embryos are sold to European markets. Artificial Insemination is used in the spring on the majority of the cows. One of their current top bulls is from Canada and is valued at around $30,000 in which they share his duties with another beef farm. Plans for the future include growing heirloom tomatoes, squash, and enough herbs to serve their restaurants.