Category: Community Table


Saving the World, One Ham at a Time

Twenty years ago, the bulk of American charcuterie was cheap, commodity product. You could get a domestic prosciutto in a supermarket for half the price of Prosciutto di Parma. More recently, charcuterie in the United States is following the same trend we have seen with wine, beer, cheese, and bread. The talent chain is expanding and quality ingredients are becoming more accessible.

Says Martins, “Two decades ago, if you wanted to buy an imported beer, you paid a premium. American beer was cheap. Now the most expensive and sought-after beer is domestic, handcrafted beer, made in smaller quantities, with the best ingredients.

“The same thing is happening with high-quality charcuterie. Largely because of a new dedication to responsibly-sourced ingredients — heritage breeds, raised on pasture, humanely. The domestic version will be the sought after product. Imports will dwindle. We’ll still love our Italian and Spanish hams, but they won’t be nearly as prevalent, they’ll be nostalgia. The market is changing right before our eyes.”

This new wave is more sophisticated because of the quality of the farming. We are determined to change the taste through better ingredients — and you can’t make a great ham without starting with a great pig.”

There are two approaches to making a great ham — the Old-World style, best-known as Prosciutto di Parma or Jamón Serrano, and the American traditional style that comes out of the deep South, with the added step of smoking — and Heritage Foods is working with outstanding proponents of both:

Broadbent Hams, under the direction of Ronny and Beth Drennan, in Kuttawa, Kentucky, have won championships from the National Country Ham Association. They have recently added a new line of heritage breed, pasture-raised hams to their existing line of Southern Style hams, which goes back 100 years. They represent a new American style of prosciutto — lighter, with a uniquely sweet and salty flavor. The first wave will be available beginning this fall.

Cesare Casella was trained by the Norcini, the great Tuscan traveling butchers. He is a famed New York restaurateur, and Dean of Italian Studies at the International Culinary Center. His Casella’s pasture-raised salami is an astonishingly nuanced example of the artform. His line of Old World-style heritage prosciutto will be available beginning in March and are sure to be a formidable presence, bringing three-hundred years of Italian tradition to the vanguard.

Antonio Fiasche from ’Nduja Artisans continues a great tradition of Italian charcuterie. His family has run Ristorante Agostino in Chicago for over thirty years, and Antonio has led the charge towards expanding a curing business anchored by a wide variety of salamis and their family specialty, ’nduja, a spreadable, spicy, Calabrian pâté, which they have been making for five generations.

Al Benton cures his hams in an ancient smokehouse in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee with little consideration for the modern world. Even though Benton is a household name in the South, he is still hands-on and present in all steps of the curing process. He is another famed traditionalist who is forwarding the cause of the American charcuterie renaissance. His strong, salty, smoky hams have always enjoyed a huge following.

In addition, the Heritage Foods roster of great curemasters includes Nancy Newsom, whose grandfather started a curing tradition in his old Kentucky home that allowed seasonal change to flavor the ham naturally; Armondino Batali in Seattle, who creates bold, charismatic salumi from pasture-raised meat; Johnny Hunter, from Underground Meats in Wisconsin; Sam Suchoff and Rufus Brown, from Lady Edison in North Carolina; and Paradise Locker Meats whose injection curing process produces delectable maple sugar hams.

Long-aged hams, salami, and other heritage breed, pasture-raised charcuterie is available directly from Heritage Foods USA.

Our Friend, Angelo Garro

Angelo Garro of Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma; spice provider to Alice Waters, Francis Ford Coppola and Werner Herzog; friend to Heritage since the beginning.

Angelo is a master blacksmith by trade and a passionate hunter, forager, cook and Slow Food icon. Growing up in Sicily he learned the wonder of herbs like the wild fennel that grew around his childhood home and the importance of good ingredients — all of Angelo’s home-made salumi and prosciutti are made using 100% Heritage Foods meat.

We visited Angelo a few weeks ago, as we do every winter, in his Forge in San Francisco. He explains that when cooking heritage meat, the simplest of preparation is best. Angelo seasons heritage meats liberally with salt, pepper and spices — he has created a special spice blend that he has been using for years with every meat he cooks called Omnivore Salt — and allows the meat and seasoning to mingle for 30-40 minutes before he sears it quickly over high heat, creating a beautifully crisp outer crust.

Angelo uses wood fire whenever possible, but a cast iron skillet will offer a similar result. For our heritage pork loin, Angelo tosses fresh greens with a simple dressing to create a delicious bed on which the pork is served family-style.

 

RECAP: Our Annual Good Food Awards Trip + Introducing #ProscuittiForTutti

In the spirit of #ThrowBackThursday, we thought we would rewind back to a few weeks ago when Team Heritage brought the #ProsciuttiForTutti tour to the San Francisco Bay Area. It was a whirl wind four days visiting restaurant and chef partners both old and new, attending the Good Food Awards – the Oscar’s of the food world – and of course the Winter Fancy Food Show. Armed with prosciutti and salami for all, we kicked off #ProsciuttiForTutti with Thursday morning visits to both Bi Rite Markets. We caught up with our friends Sam, Chili, and Maria at 18 th Street and Faun, Daniel and Chris at Divisadero over the VERY first bites of Cesare Casella’s Prosciutti Speciale made with our heritage hams. This is THE first prosciutto of its kind – ready for the marketplace in Spring 2017! Imagine Prosciutto di Parma meets Prosciutto Toscano, but American made with heritage rare breed pigs!

Next up – over to Hayes Valley to see Taylor and his team at Fatted Calf. We cannot forget our tastes of their house made roast beef and kale salad with BACON. Mmmm. That Thursday night was an incredible celebration of all things HERITAGE! We co-hosted a party at Angelo Garro’s Renaissance Forge featuring… you guessed it… heritage PORK! No commodity pigs were allowed! Surrounded by the sweet smells of smoke and meat from Angelo Garro’s wood fired grill an incredible group of chefs, butchers and crafters came together for the evening. Angelo, Veronica and Beth of OMNIVORE of course! Renato and Dario of Baia Pasta, Taylor from Fatted Calf brought some of his cured meats, Bala and Pinky from Preferred Meats and Chris Howell from Cain Winery & Vineyard brought some of his incredible wines. Our longtime friend and Slow Food supporter, Julie Shaffer flew out from Atlanta to join us for a few days and Chef Ryan Denicola drove up from chi SPACCA in Los Angeles. Emilio Miti brought over his gorgeous green slicer for the prosciutto. Chef Josh Perez from Americano at Hotel Vitale was there along with Chef Miles Kline from The Cooperage Lafayette. Thomas and Mike from Roli Roti. Even the Good Food Awards team was in the house.

And Thursday was only the start of a truly FULL-filling trip. We went on to see Chef Nicolette at A16, Chef Rocky and Isaiah at A16 Rockridge, Chef Cal at Chez Panisse, Chef Alfredo at Rose’s Café, Chef Michael, Chris, Nick and Jillian at Cotogna, Chef Leslie at Universal Café, Chef Jonah at Oliveto, Chef Stephen and Kipp from Farmstead, Chef Joyce at Tosca Café and Chef Athman at Boxing Room. Antonio Fiasche of Chicago’s ‘Nduja Artisans was also in town as were Chef Zach and Nicole from CarneVino in Las Vegas. Did we mention Patrick’s beautiful introduction of Sarah Weiner, the Director of the Good Food Awards and the incredible call to action from Winona LaDuke? Plus powerhouse women Alice Waters and Nell Newman. Read more here!

Did we eat well? OF COURSE! Who fed us? EVERYONE! Did we make new friends? YES! And we learned from Cesare that prosciutto is more complex than we ever realized. The depth of flavor and texture change as you slice further into the leg… we can’t wait for more!

Ready for Los Angeles!

Supporting Native Foods at  The Good Food Awards!

Under the call to action Come to the Table. All are Welcome Here, 1000 guests came together this past weekend in San Francisco to award 200 American artisans in 14 categories at the Good Food Awards. The great Winona LaDuke gave an inspiring keynote speech on her work at Native Harvest and Honor the Earth foundation, organizations that work to revive Native American food traditions including Manoomin Ojibwe wild rice. As our early customers might remember, the first two products we ever sold were Ojibwe wild rice and Frank Reese’s heritage turkeys.

“We are told that this would be the time called the time of the seventh fire. And in that time we are told that our people will have a choice between two paths, one they say is well worn, but it is scorched. The other is not well worn but it is green. And it will be our choice as people upon which path to embark. And I really feel like that is where we are tonight. We are choosing a path that is green, not well worn and not scorched and I am very grateful to be a part of it.”
— Winona LaDuke at the Good Food Awards

To celebrate Winona’s work, every order of $100 or more placed this week will include a FREE bag of Manoomin wild rice from the Ojibwe in Minnesota. This is truly wild rice, harvested in canoes in the lakes of northern Minnesota.
Stay tuned for new products from the Ojibwe including Bergamot and Chokecherry jams as part of our Easy Entertaining package, wonderful additions to any charcuterie board!

Dreamy Pork Tenderloin: Put the Skillet in the Oven

Winter is time to leave the oven on. Put a bird or a roast in the pan, surround it with a full compliment of herbs, garlic, and root vegetables, and let the house fill up with the gorgeous aroma of love. That’s why we love winter so much – the house always smells like food!

There aren’t a lot of tricks for making a great roast. But we wanted to share with you one of our favorite methods of cooking a pork tenderloin, not only a house favorite here at Heritage but a never-fail crowd pleaser. When done right it is as elegant as filet mignon, the perfect foundation for dinner parties or just a date for two.

Here’s what we do: Pre heat the oven to 375ºF. Pat the pork tenderloin dry and then hit it liberally with kosher salt and cracked black pepper. Meanwhile, get your cast iron skillet out, coat it with olive oil, and get it hot enough to sear the tenderloin. Sear it on all sides – it takes a little work with the tongs, but make sure it is browned all the way around, turning it so it doesn’t burn. This could take about twelve minutes.

When it’s ready, put the skillet with the tenderloin in the oven. Give it about five minutes and turn the meat over once. While you’re at it, take its temperature. You want to reach an internal temp of 135 degrees for medium, just pink and not at all rare. You should be getting close. Keep an eye on it – it may only take a few more minutes, and don’t be afraid to take its temperature often.

When it’s ready, take it out, tent it with foil, and wait ten minutes before slicing into half inch slices. A two pound loin is enough for four people, or two with enough meat left over for a midnight snack and the world’s greatest sandwich the next day.

The Perfect Roast for You and Yours

This Holiday Season, Go Big with a Classic Heritage Centerpiece!porchetta

The biggest occasions deserve the best meats in America. Like all of our meats, our centerpieces are raised humanely, on pasture without antibiotics or hormones, and produce the best natural flavor and texture you have ever experienced. These are not your grandma’s pot roast — our beef ribeye, rack of lamb, tenderloin, porchetta, and cured hams are the best of their kind, easy to cook, and sensational to serve for family dinner or the most elegant holidays. And did we mention the leftovers?

Know Your Roasts!

Some meats just seem more festive than others, but you can always count on pleasing the crowd with a Heritage roast or centerpiece. We find beef tenderloin, aka filet mignon, to be perfect for elegant dinner parties. Pork tenderloin, too, is an exquisite focal point for any occasion. Our custom made, hand-rolled porchetta, is a rare treat — crispy and rich and an impressive showstopper for even the meat connoisseur. Leg of lamb, and the celebrated rack of lamb, are perhaps the most festive centerpieces of them all, fit for a royal banquet! Of course cured hams and whole chickens never fail to please, whether it’s a holiday, Sunday dinner, or just a weeknight treat. The best part is that they are all easy to prepare — and spectacular to present!

Prepare Simply for Spectacular Results

A ten pound leg of lamb may seem like a challenge next to a 14 oz. pork chop, but we are here to tell you, don’t worry! Here is the best advice from the Heritage Team and our network of chefs:

There is no wrong way to cook great meat, but we recommend keeping it simple. Just use salt and pepper and your favorite herbs as primary seasoning. We love beef with just salt and pepper, but lamb also loves rosemary and thyme. Pork, too, loves a creative touch, but remember: this is the very best heritage meat in the world, and the flavor is already there, a product of the best breeds, farmed traditionally. There is nothing to hide, the taste says it all.

Click here to shop our selection

The Oldest Domesticated Livestock in the United States: Navajo-Churro

This is an EPIC story about the oldest domesticated livestock breed in the United States, a story that spans 500 years, and hopefully ends on on your plate.

ncantonio
Antonio Manzanares is one of the last remaining Churro shepherds in the Southwest, and he herds these animals in the traditional style, with little concession to modern farming.

Antonio Manzanares is one of the last remaining Churro shepherds in the Southwest, and he herds these animals in the traditional style, with little concession to modern farming.

This year, for the first time, Heritage Foods USA is proud to announce that it is making Navajo-Churro lamb a featured product for its retail and restaurant customers, a giant step in saving this rare and exquisite breed. Navajo-Churro lambs are prized for their incredible depth of flavor, as well as their long wool, which commands top prices in woven Navajo rugs.

The Navajo Sheep Association, dedicated to the preservation of these sheep, says that “No other sheep population in the history of the world has survived such selective pressure with such dignity and spirit.”

From Noble Roots
The Churro were brought to America from Spain by Francisco Coronado in 1540. The sheep were bred largely for food for the explorers and the missionaries who followed them throughout the region that is now Mexico and the southwestern United States. By 1807 a single flock of Spanish sheep could number 20,000.
At that time Native Americans had no livestock agriculture of their own — there were no domesticated animals in North America yet. Native Americans were still largely hunters and gatherers, but they quickly learned how to raise sheep both for the meat and the Churro’s thick, double-sided fleece and long haired wool.
In the 1860s, the Navajo-Churro sheep population was nearly destroyed as part of the United States government’s efforts to punish the Navajo people who resisted the new wave of Western settlers moving onto their land. The government ordered military action, led by American “heroes” Kit Carson and John Carlton, with instructions to destroy Navajo orchards and flocks. The results were a bloody swath of death and pain.

The Return of the Navajo-Churro
This year, Heritage Foods, in cooperation with John Sharpe, a pioneer in the preservation of rare breeds and the chef at the Turquoise Room at La Posada hotel — a gorgeously restored train station and historic site in Winslow, Arizona — is working to bring this breed back to the American market.

The Churro is smaller than many other sheep and is noteworthy for its especially herbaceous and savory flavor, with a lower lanolin content than many lambs, which can give the meat a gamy flavor. The Churro is also remarkably tender – even cuts like the shoulder and legs that sometimes call for braising can be roasted and served medium rare like the loin chops or the rib rack.

Shepherding: The second oldest profession
These animals are a reflection of the ground upon which they were raised. Heritage Foods’ Churro lamb is truly free range, raised in Navajo country and in the mountains of New Mexico, and herded in the traditional style. There is very little hay feeding in the winter, as they are grazed at lower elevations.

Antonio Manzanares is one of the few shepherds left breeding Navajo-Churro: “We trail through the mountains in the summer and back in winter. They can get a little wild, but they herd well. The Churro is a smaller animal, leaner than other sheep – I have many customers, such as John Sharpe, who swear that the Churro is a very different tasting lamb.”

It’s no secret that the back story helps sell the lamb — from its arrival to the New World, the drive to save the breed from extinction, and traditional shepherding practices.

Heritage Foods works closely with John Sharpe on our Navajo-Churro project. John is a pioneer in the preservation of rare breeds, and the chef at the Turquoise Room at La Posada hotel — a gorgeously restored train station and historic site in Winslow, Arizona.

“My other shepherds are both women, and both weavers,” says John, who serves Churro, nose-to-tail, in tacos, posole, and grilled. “Irene Bennally is actually a famous shepherd and weaver, she was featured in the New York Times – you can pay her and she’ll take you with her shepherding and camping.”

You can read the New York Times article here

And please contact Heritage Foods to get a taste of this incredible lamb, as delicious as it is part of a great American legacy.

Click here to order The Southwest Navajo-Churro Package.  13-15 lb, All cuts are individually packed!

goatober

“No Goat Left Behind” Initiative Goes International!! The British Are Coming!!

goatober2Doctor, I feel like a goat”.
“How long have you felt like that”?
“Since I was a kid”.

How do you keep a goat from charging?
Take his credit card away!

What would Goatober be without a little goat humor? Or HUMOUR, as our British friends would say.

The confidence to commit to this important project originally came from enthusiastic handshake agreements with over fifty New York City restaurants including Gramercy Tavern, Babbo, Spotted Pig, and Bar Boulud, who agreed to feature goat on their menu for the full month of October. (See the list below.)

This year we were delighted to hear from our colleagues in England, who have joined our goat project and are promoting goat dinners and events across the UK, largely spearheaded by James Whetlor of Cabrito Goat Meat, who has won the Observer Food Monthly Award for Best Ethical Producer, and in 2016 was named Good Housekeeping’s Champion Meat Producer.

During the month of GOATOBER, UK restaurants nationwide including ETM Group, HIX Restaurants, River Cottage Canteens, Shotgun BBQ, I’ll Be Mother, and Romy’s Kitchen will be featuring a goat dish on their menus.

Goat is actually the most widely consumed meat in the world — and America is slowly learning what the rest of the world already knows — that goat meat is delicious, lean, versatile, healthy, and sustainable. Goats are environmentally low-maintenance and easy to raise.

And funny. Did I mention funny?

goatober

“Goatober” Bigger Than Ever!! Six Years Later, No Goat Left Behind!

We’re proud to announce that we’re celebrating the sixth year of our annual goat project — GOATOBER, aka NO GOAT LEFT BEHIND!
I love goats.
goatober

Most Americans have never had the chance to try well-sourced goat meat, but those who experience it for the first time marvel at how light it is. The flavor of goat meat is bright, lean, and floral, with a clean and grassy finish.

Also, goats are very funny. When we were writing the CARNIVORE’S MANIFESTO, one chapter (“I AM A GOAT”) was written from the point of view of a goat:

When you are as great as I am, it’s hard to be humble… You think Daffy and Donald are the funniest livestock? Think again… I’m the funny one. When you’re girlfriend has a beard, you sort of have to be.

When my co-author Mike Edison recorded the audio version he actually read this chapter using a goat voice, which, as it turns out, sounds a lot like Gilbert Godfrey.

No Goat Left Behind/Goatober was the brainchild of Heritage Radio Network Executive Director, Erin Fairbanks, and renowned New York cheesemonger Anne Saxelby. They launched the initiative to address the growing problem facing New England goat dairies — namely, what to do with male goats?

In order to make cheese, animals on the farm must be producing milk. And to make milk, mothers must be giving birth and having many babies, consistently. Male offspring create a dilemma for the farmer — they obviously don’t produce milk, and unfortunately, there is no established humanely sourced market for American goat meat. Male goats are often euthanized at birth. This is not only an ethical catastrophe but a wasteful excess of good food.

Naturally raised goat is a seasonal meat. Mothers give birth mostly in the spring, and baby goats grow strong on the plentiful spring and summer grasses. They are ready for market in the fall. This is why Heritage Foods USA is working to change the tenth month of the year from October to Goatober!

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

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