by Terry Rogers
What began as a nagging feeling in the back of Kenny Blessing’s mind over the past few years has grown into Mule Run Meats, where shoppers can now purchase almost everything for a meal in one location. Initially, Kenny and his wife Sherry opened the store to sell their farm-raised beef and goat meat, creating a retail location in addition to a booth at the Riverwalk Farmer’s Market.
“Almost every day, we have new customers come in,” Mrs. Blessing said. “They see all the things we have to offer and they ask “How come we didn’t know about this before?” When people buy from us, they are buying fresh-from-the-farm meats with no hormones, no injections. It is all natural meat.” The beef and goat products are sold under the Mule Run label, which were raised on the farm. Other items, like turkey, pork and bison are sourced from local companies that follow the same practices.
In addition to farm-raised meats, Mule Run Meats now offers fresh Maryland crabmeat, oysters and fresh salmon. They have wild-caught frozen shrimp as well. The store offers chicken, turkey, goat, lamb, veal, bison, elk and pork along with free-range brown eggs.
“During the summer season, we carry vegetables in the store,” Mrs. Blessing said. “Right now, we have Pfeiffer Orchard strawberries and asparagus. You can come in and get all your meats and vegetables for dinner. We also sell Vanderwende’s ice cream so we even have dessert covered.” They also carry cheeses from around the world from The Cheese Board.
The products sold at Mule Run Meats have grown in popularity. Local restaurants like Milford Diner and the Counting House in Georgetown purchase meats from the store as well.
Mr. Blessing says that finishing out a quality product is very rewarding, something he has been passionate about for many years. He is a third generation farmer and his family named the farm Mule Run Farms following the death of Mr. Blessing’s father in 2013. Raised in Houston, Mr. Blessing served in the United States Army for two years. When he returned, he took advantage of the G.I. Bill, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from the University of Delaware. He developed an interest in production agriculture during his senior year and returned to his family farm to apply what he learned. He married in 1981 and the couple has two sons, Eric and Justin.
Over the years, the Blessings sold fresh beef to friends, neighbors and family members. The couple also operated a booth at the Riverwalk Farmer’s Market. They were often told that they should open a retail outlet and, in 2015, they decided to do just that. Mr. Blessing commented that he is still surprised at how quickly the shop has grown.
All cattle and goats raised on Mule Run Farms are grain-fed and finished to a grade of high choice using many of the techniques Mr. Blessing learned when he studied production agriculture at college. Blessing dry-ages the meat for two weeks and it is then USDA inspected before it is vacuum sealed. When choosing partners for products sold in the shop, the Blessings try to select those that are as local as possible and those that follow a similar mindset regarding freshness and feeding methods.
Mule Run Meats is open Thursday from 2 to 6pm and Friday, Saturday and Monday 12 Noon to 6 PM. Weekly specials are posted on the Mule Run Meats Facebook page. The store is located at 1931 Bowman Road in Milford and can be reached at 302-244-2281.