Author: Patty Lee


Meet the Folks at Paradise Locker Meats

In 2004, our founder Patrick Martins walked up a dirt road in Trimble, Missouri to meet the Fantasma family for the first time and discuss the possibility of working together. Mario, Teresa, Lou and Nick opened the doors of their facility to Heritage Foods and processed 5 Tamworth pigs raised on Metzger Farm, which were then sent to chefs in New York and San Francisco.

Every week since that initial meeting 12 years ago, Paradise Locker Meats and Heritage Foods USA have worked together to bring heritage breed pigs raised on pasture to chefs in restaurants and homes across America. Paradise has grown to process 200 Red Wattle and Berkshire pigs a week for Heritage Foods clients, as well as other livestock, and is now a major force in supplying good, clean and fair food to their local community. Paradise is credited with elevating the quality of the Kansas City restaurant scene by providing a tastier and more sustainable alternative for center of the plate options.

The processor is often overlooked when reflecting on the agricultural supply chain but they play a crucial role in connecting the farmer to the consumer. Every single piece of meat, every chop, steak and ham passes over their butcher block is expertly cut, portioned, packaged and shipped. Paradise Locker in particular also acts as liaison to farmers. They carry heavy and dangerous objects, they navigate the many challenges of maintaining the strict protocols of the U.S.D.A. and Certified Humane® and they operate an award-winning curehouse. Considering the work of the processor, it is remarkable how consistent and beautiful every cut is that comes out of their plant.

Paradise Locker was founded in 1946. The Fantasma family purchased it in 1995 but a smokehouse fire burned it down in 2002. The family was at a crossroads but decided to re-open. The relationship with Heritage began in 2004. And this year, Paradise Locker has undergone a major expansion, doubling the size of their facility. Paradise Locker is now a larger job creator for their staff and for family farmers who now have a quality processor for their livestock. They are also expanding the amount of good meat available to all Americans from coast-to-coast.

The Paradise Locker/ Heritage Foods USA collaboration has endured every week for 12 years and serves as a bellwether to the nation that the industrial meat complex has already reached its apex and is at risk of a sustained downward trend unless they improve their practices. We stand with all butchers, processors, curemasters and especially chefs who respect gastronomy, taste and all the players that go into making it possible.

Roberta's Pizza Ribs

Roberta’s Style Ribs

Roberta’s Pizza in Bushwick, Brooklyn has become famous for their legendary pies but our favorite dish is their Smoked Ribs. The secret is in the honey vinegar and togarashi sauce. Chef Carlo uses a simple salt and pepper rub before smoking the ribs. If you don’t have a smoker we recommend using this sauce on simple low and slow grilled ribs.

Grilled Lamb Hearts with Onion Relish

Once you try these lamb hearts, you’ll wonder why you ever paid top dollar for other cuts before. The firm, dense hearts stand up to a number of pairings, and this quick marinade and an easy, bright onion relish set these up for any kind of use. They shine as an entree over asparagus and grits or alongside potatoes and broccoli rabe, but my favorite way to eat them is to take the grilled hearts, slice them up, and mix them with a generous amount of the relish….

Ode to a Great Year & A Look to the Future!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

For the first time in the history of Heritage Food USA, I feel as if we are not part of a revolution, but part of a genuine, mainstreamed movement. Everywhere we look we see genuine farm-to-table restaurants, a new wave of artisanal bakers, pasta makers, cheesemongers, and truly knock-out coffee shops and chocolatiers. Everything is, against all odds, getting better.

Since the 2001 New York Times article by Marian Burros announcing that Slow Food USA would sell heritage turkeys raised by Frank Reese, Heritage Foods USA has rumbled and sometimes tumbled laying the foundation for an alternative national meat supply.

Our challenges were myriad — finding partner farmers and processors who would help bring the best heritage breeds to the market consistently; finding trusted shipping partners to move our food around the country; finding wholesale and direct-to-home outlets for all the many cuts of livestock we sell; learning the ins-and-outs of maintaining an engaging website, running social media campaigns and managing our blog and marketing materials to help us reach a discerning customer base and engage them in our mission; finding the right team of leaders in the office, which has never been stronger; and learning how to make it work financially for all the parties involved.

Fifteen years ago this seemed like folly — when it came to being a purveyor of sustainable, humanely sourced meat, nothing was known or predictable. But right now we are clearly seeing a long-term future with incredible rewards.

Paradise Locker, our partner in all things butchery, has doubled their capacity after 15 years. This means more sustainably raised meat coming to market, and more infrastructure for good, clean, and fair food. Our farmers are investing in the future, too – there is talk of David Newman giving up his teaching gig to return full time to his farm in the Ozarks. Craig Good is starting to raise the Tamworth breed of pork for the first time. Ben Machin is expanding the number of farmers raising rare breeds of lamb under his flag.

More good news: With security comes more collaboration. This year we are following up the success of our universally beloved porchetta with more items from Swiss butcher extraordinaire Thomas Odermatt. Stay tuned for a Standing Cordon Bleu Roast (!!!),  where Swiss Raclette cheese is rolled into the loin of our Old Spot pigs, using his acclaimed porchetta spices. The tradition of meat and cheese working together in a roast goes back three hundred years to Swiss traditions passed on to Thomas from his generation of butchers. Also from Thomas we’re looking forward to his own invention, the “turketta” — an entire heritage turkey deboned and rolled with delicious paprika and other earth based spices.

In Virginia, master charcutier Sam Edwards is celebrating the 90th year of his family business, and to celebrate, he is producing in limited supplies for the first time ever rare lamb prosciutto, meant to be sliced like the world’s greatest hams. We are also expanding our menu of patés, which met with critical acclaim last year. Salumi too! Stay tuned for rare breeds of rabbit, and new bacons, hams, and sausages in our Samplers and Subscriptions. We will also feature a new harvest of the world’s most delicious anchovies, bathed in various oils by our very own Di Liberto clan.

Earlier this year, there was a lot of hubbub surrounding a WHO report claiming that eating meat is dangerous. And we agreed. Commodity, industrially farmed meat is dangerous — and we have always zealously advocated a turning of the wheel away from those cruel practices. Heritage Foods USA is not part of that system. There is no controversy for us — we are proud to sell what might be the world’s best meats from the most innovatively traditional farms.

Of course none of this would be possible without our fantastic customers. We are so very committed to working for your business, and cannot possibly express the gratitude for having faith in Heritage Foods USA.

Wishing all of you a healthy, and delicious New Year, on behalf of over forty family farms and everyone in the Heritage Family, Thank YOU!!!

 

 

Founder & President

Heritage Foods USA

2015 Heritage Turkey Flock

Every morning it’s the same routine for poultry farmer Frank Reese. Frank walks several thousand turkeys from their barn out to pasture, where they spend the day foraging in the rolling Kansas plains. In the evening he opens the large barn doors, cuing the flock to head indoors where they can roost safely for the night.

Exercise and access to natural forage help to keep heritage turkeys strong and healthy. It also enables the birds to develop fat, nutritional content, and flavor. Not too long ago this was how all turkeys were raised, but Frank has gone to great lengths to preserve traditional standards of raising turkeys. Each year, as his flock is developing, he closely watches the birds mature. At the end of the season Frank will select the individuals with the most desirable traits to parent the next generation.

This yearly cycle drives the sustainability of Frank’s operation. All of his turkeys mate naturally, have a long and productive lifespan, and develop at a healthy rate – simple traits that really allow his flock to stand out from commodity production.

Follow our blog for more 2015 heritage turkey updates!

 

 

 

Tunis Lamb

Heritage Breed Tasting at Lupa Osteria Romana

A heritage breed tasting event was hosted at Lupa Osteria to celebrate our long standing partnership and their commitment to sustainability and biodiversity.

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