Everyday with Rachel Ray, a nationally distributed cooking magazine, has recognized an Iowa niche-pork producer from Le Mars and his all-natural bacon product.

In a taste test announced in the December/January issue of the publication, Beeler Pork’s Uncured Apple-Cinnamon Bacon was named the “best sweet” bacon. “This sugary, thick-cut bacon wooed judges with its ‘cinnamony-sweet’ flavor. Each strip cooked up crisp around the edges, leaving the middle tender. Its dessert-like quality would pair well with pancakes for special-occasion breakfasts,” the magazine reported.

The magazine requested samples of Beeler’s bacon as well as several other brands for the taste test last summer.

Owner Tim Beeler says his operation was ecstatic with the news, and it’s the kind of publicity they like.

“We were very excited with the news that we won first place because anytime you win a category against other competition, it’s a great feeling, especially when you’re a niche company,” Beeler says.

He notes that they make a regular, standard bacon product and a peppered bacon, and continually try to come up with different varieties. “Rather than come out with another applewood-smoked bacon, we decided to add a tint of cinnamon because it does have some health benefits,” Beeler notes. “It’s known to lower blood sugar and it’s good for diabetes. With the holidays coming up, you cook off that apple  cinnamon and it’s going to smell better than any scented candle.”

Beeler Pork, a fifth-generation family owned hog operation started in 1846, features the all-natural Heluka System. An estimated 750,000 pounds of bacon is marketed in select U.S. cities to upscale outlets each year, according to Beeler. He expects the magazine’s publicity to spark an increase in bacon and other fresh, all-natural pork sales.

Several northwest Iowa farm families raise hogs for Beeler, and the bacon processing is out-sourced to Webster City Custom Meats.