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‘Feeding the multitudes’

Balls cater to tastes of region

August 14, 2011
By JESSE HELLING, Messenger city editor , Messenger News

MOORLAND - Club meeting, fundraisers, wedding receptions.

When a group gathers for a meal, Howard Ball aims to feed.

Ball, who owns Howard Ball Feed Shed Catering in Moorland, can provide meals for crowds from 12 to 1,200.

Article Photos

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Howard Ball, right, co-owner of Howard Ball Feed Shed Catering, serves up pulled pork sandwiches during the recent Webster County Republican Picnic in the Bob Heun Shelter at John F. Kennedy Memorial Park. His wife, Karen Ball, helps out at left. She is listed on their business card as “Boss.”

"We do everything from hot dogs to prime rib," he said.

Feed Shed Catering is very much a family affair, Ball said. He works in tandem with his wife, Karen, and they are often joined by their children and grandchildren.

Barbecued meats are a specialty of the business, he said.

"Pulled pork is our signature dish," he said.

Ball first developed in interest in smoking meat in his younger days during Sunday afternoon softball games in Moorland.

In conjunction with the games, people would gather to share smoked ribs, chops and the like, Ball said.

Ball got his first lessons in the art from the men who tended the smoker.

Eventually, Ball built his own smoker, which he used during family gatherings and, eventually parties and other events.

"Gradually, it got bigger and bigger," he said. "So, we decided to start a business and go legit."

Ball retired from the Iowa Air National Guard in 2003 after a 35-year career, during which he was named the State of Iowa Outstanding AIrman in 1989.

Around the time of his retirement, a feed shed adjacent to Ball's Moorland property came up for sale.

Ball purchased the property and remodeled it. The former shed now houses his catering kitchen.

"It's about 100 feet from my house," Ball said. "I have an easy time walking to work."

For many events, Ball transports his work station with him. Feed Shed Catering offers on-site grilling. He also has a 20-by-40-foot party tent available for rental.

"We travel all over," said Ball, who often caters events as far away as Des Moines or Iowa City.

Depending on the menu, Ball said he can pull together an event in two to three days.

Recently, Ball's handiwork was featured at the Webster County Republican Picnic at John F. Kennedy Memorial Park.

But Ball has served Democratic events, too, he said.

"We take any and all bookings," he said. "Feeding the multitudes is no problem."

Contact Jesse Helling at (515) 573-2141 or



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