Travelers on Highway 151 between Monticello and Anamosa have likely noticed that in the last few years, a stately red barn has popped up.
The barn is owned and operated by Lisa and Jerry Hunt, who have about 13 acres of adjacent land that they farm.
While the barn is new, the Hunts have farmed and raised pigs for the past 30 years.
“For years, we used to have a tent or wagon along the roadside with an honesty box,” said Lisa, of their humble beginnings.
Two years ago, they decided to build the barn and expand selling local products.
“We feature a lot of local products from people like ourselves,” Lisa said. “It makes you feel great when you can connect people through great products.”
The Hunts also sell their pork products.
“Our animals are raised with care in unconfined spaces, using traditional methods and natural feeds and we never use antibiotics,” said Lisa, noting that they offer bacon, sausage links and bratwursts. “It’s a different product than you’ve likely tasted.”
“We try to do things as naturally as possible when we farm. Our produce and pigs are raised entirely without chemicals, antibiotics, or artificial ingredients,” she added, noting that they sell a variety of seasonal produce. There’s a wide selection of locally sourced, organic/specialty foods — fine cheeses, honey products — as well as craft beers and wines.
The name of their business — Savor the Barn — comes from the fact that the Hunts truly want their customers to use their senses.
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“We try to promote tasting the products we sell as much as possible,” she said, noting that they often host tasting events at the barn such as the one two weekends ago when about 600 people visited Savor the Barn. She said they are willing to offer a sample of all the products they sell. “We feel like you should taste these things before you buy them.”
For the time being it’s just the Hunts who work at Savor the Barn, maintaining hours Tuesdays through Sundays. “Monday you can sometimes catch us by chance,” she said, noting that owning your own business can mean long hours. “I’m here in the barn more though and Jerry is out in the field all the time.”
Savor the Barn is open throughout the year and changes its inventory seasonally. Right now, shoppers will find a whole host of pumpkins, gourds and fall décor sprinkled around the entrance. “This whole barn changes on the inside from season to season,” Lisa said, adding that they also offer a variety of craft items made by local artisans.
And while they have some regulars, thanks to their location the faces of the shoppers often change.
“I love meeting people from all over the place,” said Lisa, pointing out the map on the wall where visitors pinpoint where they are traveling from. “Being on the highway, we see people from all over, even foreign countries. One week I had someone from New Zealand and someone from Alaska. You don’t expect that but it’s the highway that pulls them in.”
While Lisa said it was a challenge to get the barn open — from completing construction in a timely manner to dealing with regulations — it was worth the effort.
“This really is an old barn on the inside, made out of reclaimed barn lumber,” she said, pointing out the unique light fixtures she created from rotary hoe plates. “We put this building up with a lot of help from family and friend,” she added, showing off the wall in the back where all those that helped left a painted handprint.
AT A GLANCE
Owners: Lisa and Jerry Hunt
Business: Savor the Barn
Address: 17345 Langworthy Rd., Monticello
Phone: (319) 480-7442
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