Ma’s Legend
Ma's Legend - Thanks to Ma we have lots ot brag about


Always marinated in original or sour cream and chive sauce!

Baensch Food Products Co., a division of Wild Foods, Inc., packs premium North Atlantic herring from off the coast of Newfoundland. Founded in 1932 by the Baensch family, the company was purchased by Kim Wall in 1999. Today, we continue to use the original family recipes for our marinated herring tidbits in original or sour cream and chive sauce. Baensch Foods is a member of FaB Wisconsin, the National Fisheries Institute and is Certified OU (Orthodox Union) Kosher.


Today, you can taste the same quality herring prepared using Ma’s original recipes.

Early in the 20th Century, the Baensch family brought their own premium marinated herring recipe to Milwaukee. During the Great Depression, families prepared herring at home using “secret recipes” for the tasty treat. It wasn’t long before Lena Baensch’s recipe became the overall favorite. Soon, Lena, or “Ma” as she was called, was making premium herring for friends and neighbors as well as her family. When it became clear that Lena’s herring was something special, she asked local grocers to sell it in their shops, and in 1932 Ma Baensch herring was born. Today, you can taste the same quality herring prepared using Lena’s original recipes. Through the years, other herring brands began to compromise their quality and ingredients. We, however, maintained or improved our standards to always give the consumer the highest quality, best tasting premium herring on the market. We’ve added some modern manufacturing processes, including hiring a dedicated quality assurance manager, but Lena’s time-tested recipes and insistence on the best quality herring fillets and marinade ingredients continue today.


She’s the lips behind the kiss.

Kim Wall Ma Baensch
Kim R. Wall purchased Baensch Food Products Co. (brand name – Ma Baensch) in 1999. As president, she is responsible for the company’s operation, including growth strategies, sales, distribution, marketing, and research for this premium quality herring company. Integral parts of her strategy to achieve Baensch Food Products’ fullest potential include enhanced quality, improved operating efficiencies, increased brand awareness, extended geographic distribution and stringent cost control.


Since taking ownership of the business, Wall has executed a number of marketing strategies to increase awareness of the Ma Baensch brand. She repositioned Ma Baensch herring products from the dairy section to the meat and seafood sections of grocery stores. She added a gold lid and changed the artwork on the jar to create a more upscale and attractive image. And, she received kosher certification to appeal to a wider customer base. Wall remains passionate about clean, safe and sustainable seafood, ever-striving for the best.


Ma Baensch isn’t Wall’s only experience in the food industry. In 1991, she created SunWild Foods, Inc., where she served as owner and president. SunWild formulated healthy and high-quality natural flavorings and seasoning blends. These were distributed to manufacturers, primarily Wisconsin natural cheese makers, and retail specialty food stores.


Wall takes her passion for herring a step further as a seafood connoisseur and gourmet cook. From her creative herring recipes to the basics of handling and storing all types of fish, as well as the best techniques to prepare them, when it comes to seafood, Wall has the answers.


Baensch Foods is a member of FaB Wisconsin, where Wall serves on the Leadership Council. FaB Wisconsin is an economic development industry cluster organization focused on food and beverage manufacturing in Wisconsin. Baensch Foods is also a member of the National Fisheries Institute (NFI), where Wall serves on the Future Leaders committee. NFI is the nation’s leading advocacy organization for the seafood industry.


Wall was born and raised in Beloit, Wisconsin. She is a graduate of Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, with a double major in accounting and economics. She has worked as a Certified Public Accountant and has hands-on experience in various business areas, including public accounting, commercial real estate, sales, marketing, graphic design, banking, fund raising, public relations and association management.


Good luck all year long!

Herring is very popular in cultures that have roots in the Baltic Sea region. Hundreds of years ago in this region, the herring catch was critical to the economic prosperity of merchants in market towns. Due to the unpredictable nature of herring’s migratory patterns back then, some years brought in lean catches. In addition, when herring was plentiful, there was the risk that there wouldn’t be enough salt to preserve the catch. And, due to the silver scales of the fish, herring looks like money more than most fish. So, to eat herring at the New Year was sort of a small prayer — a wish for the catch and trade to line up with prosperity.

Today, in areas with large Scandinavian and German populations such as Milwaukee and Minneapolis, many families continue the tradition of eating herring during the holidays and at the stroke of Midnight to bring good luck.