University of Minnesota’s Hidden Gem: The Andrew Boss Laboratory of Meat Science


Jack Radomski, Contributor

The University of Minnesota’s St. Paul campus is host to one of the best kept secrets the school has to offer: The Andrew Boss Laboratory of Meat Science

The meat laboratory was most recently in the news for its $9 million renovation to replace all mechanical and electrical equipment, but inside the St. Paul building there is something much more enticing for consumers. 

The hidden gem, located in a concrete basement that directs potential customers to the store with simple white paper signage, produces locally grown meat and dairy products and then markets them in the laboratory’s own store run by students and faculty of the University of Minnesota. 

The store is perfect for college students on a budget, as products are generally sold at a fraction of the cost one would expect from a store that is locally sourced and produced.  

A part of the reason the laboratory is kept relatively unknown is because it is only open on Wednesdays from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. This is a great spot on campus and well worth making the journey to St. Paul for their selection of products. I strongly recommend carving out some time in your schedule to visit the store. 

All of their products are made by students in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resources Sciences (CFANS). This gives students an opportunity to market their products to consumers, a unique and valuable experience for CFANS students. The meat laboratory also gives University of Minnesota students, alumni, and community members the ability to support students of CFANS directly. 

The variety and uniqueness of products is unmatched, partially because students have the freedom to design products they would want to see or products they believe community members would find desirable. 

CFANS students who supply the meat lab get creative in their design and the outcome is usually a hit with customers. 

For instance, students made a bratwurst specifically tailored for Golden Gopher football fans, a beer and cheese “Row the Boat” bratwurst, a signal to head coach P.J. Fleck and the football team’s mantra.

The meat laboratory offers a wide selection of steak, ground beef, chicken, ribs, bacon and almost anything a consumer could want from a specialty store. The producers pay homage to their Minnesota roots through their offering of wild rice bratwurst and the Minnesota bratwurst, while offering outside-the-box products such as their blueberry and cranberry summer sausage. 

When I visited the laboratory in the summer of 2022, I purchased a variety of ice cream, cheeses, and patties. Their ice cream was top notch, and their selection of cheeses was great (and that’s coming from a Wisconsinite).

Another added benefit of the meat laboratory is that the meat is produced for educational purposes. Although students cannot use everything harvested, the students keep enough meat to supply the store. If you need another reason to purchase some products from the store, each purchase benefits the education of CFANS students. 

The fun does not stop at personal shopping, however. The meat laboratory offers gift packages to give friends and family. This is a great option for students who are looking to do last minute Christmas or birthday shopping, or for out of state students who want to give their friends and family back home a taste of Minnesota. 

The laboratory is located at 1354 Eckles Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55108. You should be sure to make time between classes to visit this hidden gem and purchase some great tasting meat, cheese, honey, or ice cream, or just to walk around the store and see what CFANS students at the University of Minnesota are making.