Author: Patty Lee


Goat Dan Dan Noodles with Broccoli

Goat Dan Dan Noodles with Broccoli

Happy Goatober! To celebrate the versatility of goat, we whipped up a bowl of Dan Dan Noodles, a Sichuan dish more commonly served with ground pork. The result was a leaner, more flavorful dish with a bit of a kick from the Chinese five spice powder. Go ahead and add your favorite vegetables to create this tasty and easy dish.

Spicy Chicharrones Guisados

Spicy Chicharrones Guisados

Our good friend Mary O’Grady has been an invaluable resource for cooking tips and recipes since we first met in the early days of Slow Food USA. Most recently Mary shared a recipe she developed for Chicharrones Guisados (stewed pork skin) using the extra bits of skin and fat trimmed from a holiday porchetta.

The perfect recipe for anyone who likes a little spicy kick!

Heritage Turkeys : From Farm to Ark to Table

In every family, there is a pride of history and lineage. This is no different for poultry or livestock. Heritage turkeys are the progeny of poultry that was bred for flavor.

Norman Kardosh, Frank Reese’s mentor, spent his life teaching Frank how to raise heritage turkeys responsibly. He knew he was leaving his legacy to Frank, and he stressed the importance of pure genetics. Norman said, “If you mess them up it will take fifteen years to straighten out… if it’s even possible.”

The Standard Bronze is the perfect heritage turkey — flavorful, healthy, and robust — and represents not just a line of genetics, but the farmer’s love and care in breeding the best heritage turkeys in the world.

By the early 1970s, factory farming would take over, and turkeys were most commonly bred for traits that would genetically deform them and destroy their flavor, namely how fast and how big they could grow. Within twenty years, turkeys shot up with chemicals to keep them alive and so top heavy they could not walk were the norm. In fact, they were growing so fast that turkeys became so inexpensive as to nearly bankrupt the industry.

The American Poultry Association is America’s oldest agricultural association and the keeper of the standards for poultry breed identification. Frank is the first farmer to receive accreditation by the APA certifying his heritage turkeys as purebred to the standards set in 1873.

Patrick Martins, Founder of Heritage Foods USA explains, “In 2001, when I was running Slow Food USA, I put the Standard Bronze turkey on the Slow Food “Ark of Taste” — a metaphoric vessel designed to highlight agriculture on the verge of extinction — and suddenly I found myself in the turkey business, launching Heritage Foods USA to help Frank expand and successfully deliver his flock of heritage turkeys, now numbering around 10,000 birds per year.

Frank’s birds are not only a model of responsible farming but also delicious. They bring a character of flavor and juiciness that could never be found in anything produced by Big Agriculture. They do cost more, but the price reflects the true cost of raising a free-range bird that has not been genetically redesigned to flatter the bottom line rather than the taste buds.

Modern, industrially raised adult turkey’s breasts are so unnaturally large that they cannot reproduce without assistance, and need to be artificially inseminated, which is why cheap turkey meat is available in the supermarket all year long. Frank’s turkeys mate naturally and are only ready to be harvested for Thanksgiving.

Frank Reese’s heritage turkeys are now available for pre-order for Thanksgiving directly from Heritage Foods USA, including the Standard Bronze as well as Bourbon Red, White Holland, Black Narragansett, Royal Palm, Jersey Buff, and Slate breeds.

2016 Heritage Turkeys
Delivered fresh November 22nd with neck and giblets
8-10lb turkey … $99
10-12lb turkey … $119
12-14lb turkey … $139
14-16lb turkey … $159
16-18lb turkey … $179
18-20lb turkey … $199

Charcuterie

Long-Aged “Prosciutto-Style” Ham
When we first started buying whole heritage pigs for our restaurant accounts and home chefs we didn’t know that hams make up 30% of the body weight of the pig. When we looked at our profit and loss statement, we realized that unless we found a great outlet for hams, we would fail as a nose-to-tail business, especially considering that we pay our farmers at least four times the commodity rate for pork, a price determined by a group of old men in Chicago that we think is too low.

In a nose-to-tail operation, the ham is a cut that almost always needs value added to not lose money overall. Curing hams and turning ham into sausage are ways of moving hams for a fair price. Unfortunately, our business relationships did not include the supermarkets or delis where so many of the nation’s hams are sold! The solution? Find buyers who had their own outlets to sell hams!

Over the past decade, our greatest buyer of hams by far has been Sam Edwards of S. Wallace Edwards and Sons, a company that started in 1926. Edwards purchases 250 pieces of ham totaling over 6250lbs every week, operating 40 weeks of the year under the name Surry-ano. We are so fortunate to have a relationship with the Edwards family, not only because it’s nice to walk to the bank with a big check, but also because Sam is producing one of the greatest American long-aged hams ever made on these shores. Sam uses the traditional American method of curing hams, which involves the added step of smoking. As a dedicated proponent of heritage breeds, pasture-raised systems, and slow curing methods, Sam has moved American gastronomy forward through his curehouse.

We are also fortunate to work with chef and curemaster Cesare Casella who cures hams in the traditional Italian style (which does not involve smoking) under the company name Casella’s Salumi Speciali, in New York. Cesare, who holds a Michelin Star for his Italian trattoria in Tuscany, started his long-aged ham line (he already had a very successful salumi line) after the recent fire at the S. Wallace Edwards plant. The fire temporarily put Edwards out of the curing business and forced Heritage Foods to find an emergency outlet for all those hams! Surprisingly, the fire has led to the creation of the best Italian prosciutto outside Italy.

Heritage Foods USA is also proud to partner with other great American curemasters with businesses and traditions that can be traced back decades and centuries. These ham producers are household names in the South and produce products that are inextricably linked with our collective Southern food tradition. These producers are Ronnie Broadbent (Kuttawa, KY), Al Benton (Madisonville, TN) and Nancy Newsome (Princeton, KY). These artisans now offer pasture-raised lines of Berkshire and Red Wattle long-aged hams that are among the most delicious you will ever try.

The Heritage Foods USA line of prosciutto-style hams is always growing and evolving. For now, enjoy our sliced and whole Surry-ano line. In the fall and winter we will add our first pastured rare breed hams from Broadbent Hams, Colonel Newsom’s Aged Kentucky Country Ham and Benton’s Smokey Mountain Country Hams. And next Spring Casella’s Salumi Speciali will debut for the first time in the U.S.

We hope more Americans will consider leaving some of our long-aged hams on their kitchen counters year round! Long-aged hams do not need to be refrigerated as all the moisture is removed during the curing process. They can also be used in any recipe that calls for ham. Even a little sliver will bring extreme pleasure and satisfy any hunger craving!

Salumi
giorgio-salumi-trio-2839Sadly, in the United States, USDA regulations have slowed the development of America’s curing industry to a crawl, leaving little room for a great salumi tradition to even begin on these shores. Luckily, there are exceptions. On the West Coast, Fra Mani makes very good salumi as does Salumeria Bieliese on the East Coast. The Pacific Northwest boasts the excellent Olympia Provisions amongst others. Despite the restrictions facing the industry, American curing is progressing.

Heritage Foods USA does not cure meat; we simply sell raw ingredients to artisan curemasters, so it was very hard for us to break into the salumi market with a good product that we could call our own. That is until we partnered with our old friend Cesare Casella! Chef Casella won a Michelin star for his family trattoria in Tuscany, Vipore, and came to America to open two legendary restaurants in New York City, Beppe and Marema.

Today, Cesare has dedicated himself to the pursuit of curing meat in the Italian, more specifically Tuscan, tradition and style. The charcuterie he produces has quickly become known as some of the greatest that America has to offer. Cesare uses pasture-raised heritage breeds like Red Wattle, Berkshire, and Gloucestershire Old Spot, all sourced from Heritage Foods USA, in the production of his cured meats.

Cesare learned the art of curing from Tuscan butchers who traveled the countryside before winter to help families prepare for the long food-scarce period before spring. His salumi never overdo it on flavor and they are exactly like the salumi you can find in Tuscany. Cesare has perfected two of Tuscany’s most classic salami for us: Finocchiella and Salametto Piccante. Each of Cesare’s salame is perfectly balanced in flavor and texture.

The original everyman’s food, salami are great to have on hand for delicious snacks, last minute entertaining, or thoughtful wine pairings.

Paté
DSC_1882It’s amazing that paté is not consumed more in America! After all, it’s delicious and Americans love spreading any kind of food. A paste of meat is a new format to many, but perhaps nothing in the meat world is more satisfying. It’s really a good option when you decide not to have meat as a centerpiece for the main course!

In French cookery, paté is a paste or spread made of puréed or finely chopped liver, meat, fish, game, etc., served as an hors d’oeuvre. Paté, in French, literally means paste and comes from the Old French word for paste.

We have our two favorite patés featured on our site year round.

Heritage Paté – This rustic paté is made with bacon and onion, creating a delicious full flavor profile. Patés are perfect for spreading on toast or fresh bread of any sort and also function as an excellent appetizer when served with pickles or cured meats.

Our signature paté is made by Nello of Nello’s Specialty Meats, one of Pennsylvania’s great curemasters. Nello’s is a community fixture and processes and cures for dozens of farms local to him, mostly in the German tradition.

The Berkshire pork Nello uses is elegant, luscious, and smooth. The meat boasts a round and buttery flavor that melts on the tongue. Berkshire pigs are pasture-raised and antibiotic-free.

American Braunschweiger is a type of liverwurst. The USDA requires that the product contains a minimum of 30% liver to be called Braunschweiger. Added seasonings often include salt, white pepper, and onion powder or chopped onion.

Our version, produced by Paradise Locker Meats in Trimble, Missouri has liver, bacon, maple sugar, onion powder, mustard, and garlic. It is flavorful and irresistible! Everyone will love this sweet and savory pate.

2016 Farm Tour

2016-farm-tour
The 2016 Heritage Foods USA Farm Tour kicked off May 4th with a historic meeting at the Memphis airport headlined by a 15-passenger van, which was at the ready for a 5-day chef tour. Since 2005, an annual farm trip provides the chance for chefs and curemasters to meet the people and animals behind their center-of-plate ingredients.

A trip dedicated to the theme of traceability, the tour has hosted almost 100 chefs to America’s greatest and most respected restaurants to the same farms Heritage Foods USA began working with since 2005. Nothing is forever but for the sake of animal welfare, gastronomy, the environment and independent businesses, we kind of hope this is forever!

The Adventurers for the Heritage Traceability Tour 2016

From the West:

Jonah Rhodehamel of Oliveto Restaurant, Oakland. Professional racecar driver and chef.

Taylor Boetticher and Ren Rossini of California’s famed Fatted Calf Charcuterie, which moves over a ton of pasture raised heritage meats a week and more during the holidays.

Jason Neve, Jon Littleton, Nicole Brisson and Danny Herrera of the four Batali & Bastianich Vegas restaurants: Carnevino, B&B Ristorante, Otto Pizzeria and B&B Burger.

From the East:

Cesare Casella, holder of a Michelin star and true master of Salumi and Proscuitti. Cesare learned the art of cutting meat from countryside-travelling Tuscan butchers in the 1970’s and 1980’s ­— he’s a true salumi-nary!

Paul Wetzel of Gramercy Tavern in NYC. Chief charcutier to Zagat’s top restaurant in New York, Paul is at the forefront of the new American meat movement.

Joe Tarasco, Executive Chef of Danny Meyer’s Marta restaurant, the phenomenal pizza and pasta spot in New York’s midtown neighborhood.

Team Heritage: Catherine Greeley, Alexes McLaughlin, and Patrick Martins.

From the Midwest:
Howard Hanna, chef of Kansas City’s Rieger Restaurant, a world site of gastronomy where they produce their own gin and whiskey in a building whose history can be traced back more than 100 years .

Michael Beard of Meat, LLC, distributor of pasture-raised heritage meats to the Mid-West – places like Oklahoma and Nebraska.

First stop, Memphis and the famous Peabody Hotel for cocktails and to watch ducks make their way across the hotel lobby to bathe in the central fountain. Then Beale Street for Blues City Café BBQ, delicious shrimp and ribs.

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 4.14.15 PMWe then headed North at lightening speed, and then slower speed once we got pulled over (just a warning)! When we arrived at Newman Farm we gasped at how stunning this farm is. Rita, David and Chris Newman operate in the Ozarks Mountains a farm that is home to 1300 of the best Berkshire pigs in the world – with genetics that are untouchable, from the old lines that can be traced back centuries in the Old World. This farm is at the cutting edge too of an English pasture raising system using outdoor huts for the mothers and babies. The food was marvelous, a true taste of the Ozarks where blackberries and cherries explode from the forests.

After 2 nights, we woke early and drove Northwest at lightening speed (no police stops) to Paradise Locker Meats in Trimble, Missouri. We arrived just in time for the staff lunch, which featured BBQ from Oklahoma Joes. There we met the entire team at Paradise who cuts and portions much of the heritage pork used at the restaurants and curehouses. It was nice for the cutters to put a face to the unusual cuts they craft each and every week, and for the chefs to meet one-by-one the team that makes what they do possible in places like NYC, Vegas and San Francisco. We toured every inch of the plant from the kill floor to the processing room, coolers and cure rooms led by plant manager Lou Fantasma and his father Mario.

Then we were off to dinner at the Rieger Hotel in downtown KC. Located in the historic Crossroads Art District, The Rieger can be summed up as a “Classic American Grill”. The Rieger Hotel opened in 1915 and was home to many traveling salesmen, railroad workers, and passersby during Kansas City’s formative years. Today Chef Howard Hanna believes that Kansas City is in a prime position to develop a cuisine that speaks to its people, celebrates the bounty of the region, and can be unique and special.

Then we sleep a deep sleep and rise again to travel due west on highway 70 towards the center of the state.

Frank-GSPR_4737Good Shepherd Poultry Ranch was our next stop. Visiting GSPR and farmer Frank Reese is almost a religious experience. When you arrive Frank begins speaking about the connection between strong and non-industrial genetics with animal welfare. He talks about American history, on the farm, and in the barn. And he explains how each animal we see conforms to traditional body types that populated farms for centuries. He is the Wendell Berry of poultry. Frank took us to see the roughed up breeders who were fighting for mates, and the cute babies they produced. We saw so many different chicken varieties mingling in the dust. And we tasted two of them: the Jersey Buff and Wyandotte, prepared by Frank low and slow. These are the best chickens on earth.

Good Farm, Farm Tour
Good Farm, Farm Tour

When we left Frank’s farm we were silent for awhile as most people tend to be. But we picked up energy again at our last stop for Traceability Tour 2016, Good Farm just outside of Manhattan, Kansas. Here everything fits comfortably like an old baseball glove. We feasted, thanks to chef Michael Beard and Amy Good herself, we shot guns, we toured the farm on a big trailer and 4×4’s and saw pig breeds including Gloucestershire Old Spot, Tamworth and Duroc. The breeding boar was massive and intimidating! The babies and teenagers were clean and alert and beautiful.

Then it was back home the next day and to work the day after that, but we returned with a renewed appreciation for the American food supply and the potential it has to feed the world. The energy created on the tour is perhaps best represented by these quotes from the farmers and chefs:

“We are all fortunate to work with such amazing people and it’s trips like this that re-center us and bring into clarity why it is we do what we do. For myself, it was great to see old faces and meet some new ones, and hopefully, we will see you all very soon.”

“I’m not even joking, that trip was one of the highlights of my career so far. To say it was inspiring and invigorating would be a huge understatement. It was great to meet all of you!”

“We are blessed to have the opportunity to work with such good, talented people who are committed to their passion of serving the very best food to their friends and clients. We are so fortunate to be a part of something that has so many people that truly care about quality and the people who work hard to produce the products that they desire. We are a part of something that is greater than just us. Having you visit our farm and visiting with you gives us “extra energy” to keep on doing what we love to do.”

And finally… “Damn, that food is good.”

Stay tuned to our blog for more pictures and stories from the Heritage network!!

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