Nathan Lein, founder of Big Boy Meats, was approached on Project A.W.A.R.E. and was asked about the care of two little lambs. As the conversation progressed, Wendy Zimmerman, Director of the NewBo City Market, talked about her major project. Phone numbers were exchanged, planning began, and in August of 2012, Big Boy Meats was founded.
Nathan grew up in a barn….literally. His family likes to joke that there were 28 lambs born on his birthday. He grew up raising and showing Corriedale, Lincoln, and Suffolk sheep on his parent’s diversified crop and sheep farm in north east Iowa. He comes from a long line of livestock people on both sides of his family. Nathan’s maternal great grandfather Fred Droste’s first job upon emigrating from Germany was a farrier right on the banks of the Cedar River in Waverly, IA. Fred Droste delivered highly prized horses all over the United States and Canada in the late 1800’s.Great Grandfather Henry Hay was known for showing his prize winning Percheron horses at the Bremer County Fair. Nathan’s mom grew up with cows, countless chickens and her beloved horse. The Droste Ayshire cattle still make annual appearances at the Iowa State Fair. Nathan’s dad James has been to every Iowa State Fair since 1940, where M.J. and Mabelle Lein showed James in the new born baby contest. Grandfather MJ Lein was president of Iowa Holstein Cattle Association. M.J.’s brother Oscar helped build the horse barn at the Iowa State Fair in 1907, so the Lein family has been around the show scene for a few years. Nathan’s father Jim Lein (with his father Minard James (MJ) Lein) showed pigs and Holstein cattle at the International Livestock Exposition, Iowa and other State Fairs, and numerous county fairs.
From champion dairy cattle, prize winning pigs, to horses, chickens, ducks, rabbits, cats and dogs, the Lein family has always taken their animals with them to the fair and on pretty much every family “vacation.” From Maryland to Montana, from Vermont to Colorado, and countless points in between, sheep and their owners have given our family so much.
It was Nathan’s oldest sister that asked for sheep as a 4-H project in 1972. 40 years and three breeds later, Nathan and his wife Jamie are excited to share the next step in our family’s livestock adventure, Big Boy Meats. We are even more excited to partner with other producers who care for their livestock like we do and offer those superior quality products to the commercial and retail trade.
We started this venture because everyone should be able to “eat like a farmer.” That is, everyone should enjoy the most fresh, hormone free, antibiotic free, free range, happy animals that we love to raise. From our family to yours, we hope you enjoy Big Boy Meats.