Lenny Vanden Heuvel is a lifelong Packers fan that just happens to live in Green Bay, Wisconsin. If there’s one thing Vanden Heuvel understands, it’s the concept of supply and demand. Every morning at 5am, Vanden Heuvel arrives at storied ACME Packing Company’s distribution center to load his truck full of meats to be delivered to grocery stores in the greater Brown County area.
“Guys like me keep things orderly and normal for everyone else. The general public are sheep, but these people will turn into wolves when they can’t get their Johnsonvilles. I’m here to make sure they do,” he says.
Vanden Heuvel is referring to what he believes will be a meat disaster of epic proportions.
“I’m preparing for a violent worldwide strain of super flu mad cow pig disease.”
Such an event, Vanden Heuvel claims, would lead to a complete stoppage of all beef and pork supplies to the U.S., causing what he believes will be “brat depression and tailgate chaos at Lambeau.”
“Sure you’d have still chicken, but for tailgating here, brats are – and always will be – king. You ever been to a Packer tailgate without brats? No, you haven’t because it doesn’t exist. Right now…”
In preparation of such an event, Vanden Heuvel has been methodically stockpiling meats in a secret location. He offered to take me to his meat bunker on one condition: he blindfolds me for the trip.
“The secrecy of this location is my most valuable commodity. Don’t worry, I ain’t weird,” he assures me via email. I accept the offer and we meet at a park and ride in De Pere, where Vanden Heuvel is waiting in a non-descript black SUV save for an “I Miss Vince” bumper sticker. For the next hour, we drive through highways and onto several rough roads while listening to classic rock. Vanden Heuvel is a big fan of Meatloaf, I learn, if you consider that classic rock.
When he takes my blindfold off, Vanden Heuvel tells me to be quiet and silence my electronic devices during the walk. As it turns out, the secret meat bunker is still another five hundred yards away through dense woods. Vanden Heuvel instructs me which areas to step on and which to avoid, as to not leave a trackable pattern.
Thirty minutes later, we reach the premises – a small trailer home covered in camouflage netting. He unlocks the door and there’s nothing inside that would suggest anything out of the ordinary. That is, until he pushes away the couch and rug to reveal a trap door.
“Down here’s where I keep everything. I’ve been working on this for twenty years,” he says.
We walk down an entire flight of stairs that lead to a 30,000 square-foot open room filled with hundreds boxes of meat. “Right before the economy took a dump – thanks Obama – I spent half my savings and hired a crew to finish the place. Best decision of my life.”
Vanden Heuvel states that the underground nature of the room lends itself to cooler temperatures but he has installed a climate control system as well. “Right now, in February, it doesn’t even need to run. But even in summer, it’ll only run if it pushes ninety. Did you know that frozen or semi-frozen brats have a shelf life of twenty years?”
“How much have you spent on brats alone?” I ask him. Without hesitating, Vanden Heuvel estimates one-hundred thousand dollars.
“You have to understand, Robert, that’s pre-middle man and with an employee discount. If you want a current street value of my supply, we’re talking a quarter million – easy. And when the brats run dry, these will be more valuable than gold,” he tells me, holding up a six-pack of Hot ‘N Spicy links. There are enough brats here to feed Lambeau for all the home games this year. Think about that for a second.”
I do in fact think about that for a second and concur: that’s a lot of brats. I then bring up an article I read that because of their much healthier properties and relative ease of production that veggie brats were trending in recent years, and even hypothesized that beef and pork ban outage might actually be a blessing in disguise. After all, studies have shown that red meat products such as brats are linked to both cancer and heart disease.
It was at this point in the interview Vanden Heuvel knocked me out with a blunt object. The next thing I knew I woke up in a dumpster behind the Piggly Wiggly on Northland Avenue in Appleton.
Google requires us to state we use third-party advertising, who may use information (not including your name, address, email, or phone) about your visits to provide ads of possible interest. For more information or to opt out, click here.