Category: News


Lamb Recipe by Clodagh Mckenna

Summer Lamb with Fennel and Roasted Nectarines | Clodagh McKenna

The aniseed flavor of fennel and the sweetness of rosemary work really well with lamb cutlets, but you could use this marinade for a whole leg of roast lamb. Sweet, roasted nectarines are a great companion to any lamb dish. I coat my nectarines (or peaches) with apple syrup, but you could use a good-quality maple syrup instead. These nectarines could also be served as a dessert with mascarpone or softly whipped cream.

Yak Taste Notes

We recently sampled yak meat and were amazed by the wonderful array of different flavors. We tried a yak hanger steak and were MOST surprised by the subtle and delicate lobster notes present! Looking forward to adding some adventurous cuts to the menu this year. Stay updated by subscribing to our weekly newsletter!

Hanger

Firm
little fat, all meat
citrus
lobster
shell fish
venison
light
Ground
straw, olive, earthy
Irish Potato Famine History

The Great Potato Famine

Irish Potato Famine History

The history of Irish food is interesting for more than just the delicious combinations of meat, potatoes and alcohol but also for the lessons we must learn from the great tragedy of the Irish Potato Famine. Between 1845 and 1852 over one million Irish peasants died of starvation and another million fled the country hoping for fuller bellies. While there were many political and social factors leading to the terrible scale of this tragedy, everything started with nearly 3 million Irish peasants subsisting on a single strain of plant in their fields, one variety of the potato. This great tragedy hits close to home here at Heritage Foods USA as we support farmers fighting against the pressure of moving toward a monoculture food system.

The story of the Great Famine starts in 5,000 BC in the South American highlands where the potato was first domesticated by humans. The potato then travelled across the Atlantic ocean on the ships of Spanish conquistadors, finally reaching Europe in 1570. Most Europeans avoided potatoes initially because of the close connection to the poisonous nightshade plant. Eventually the aristocracy realized the potato had a high caloric value that could sustain as many as 10 people on a acre and was easier to grow than wheat. Though slow to be adopted in mainland Europe, once the potato was brought to Ireland it quickly replaced a more diverse agricultural landscape as peasants sought to subsist off of smaller and smaller plots of land.

While the potato fields were still abundant many peasants exclusively ate potatoes, only supplementing with milk when they could afford the splurge. In order to meet their caloric needs a “burly farmer could down 15 potatoes” in a  meal, according to one historical account. A spud filled diet might not have been the most enjoyable for the Irish, but it was feeding them until the early 1800’s when the first issues with the blight (Photophthora infestans) began to affect Ireland. The arrival of the fungus combined with unseasonably wet weather caused regional  crop failures. Potato plants would wither and blacken while the tubers themselves were rotting in the soil. Then in late August of 1845, “a queer mist came over the Irish country side”. What had been a sporadic issue soon swept the country and by 1846 there were hardly any seed potatoes to plant in the fields let alone to eat. This country-wide crop failure continued for several years and while the blight was impacting potato plants in countries across Europe, Ireland faced the largest human toll.

More than a century later Irish eyes are smiling once again, but there is so much that can be learned from this preventable tragedy. The Great Famine is one in a long list of crop failures, though it cost the most human lives. In the 19th century four million acres of French grapes were decimated by the virulent Phylloxera vitifoliae. This same disease cost the winemaking counties of California millions of dollars as 70% of their crop came from the same rootstock. In the 1930’s Costa Rica’s banana industry nearly went bankrupt after Fusarium oxysporum destroyed thousands of hectares of their monoculture plantations. Failing to learn from their mistakes, these banana growers have faced recurrences of the disease in the 1950’s, 1970’s and 1990’s. In the 1970’s uniform high-yielding corn hybrids comprised about 70% of all corn varieties in the United States. A corn leaf blight resulted in the loss of 15% of the entire crop costing the industry over one billion dollars. History has shown us time and time again that while these high-yielding crops seem appealing at first, in monoculture we are setting ourselves up for potentially catastrophic crop failure

The economic risk and environmental toll of these monocultures is simply too great. Thousands of years of agriculture have resulted in a beautifully diverse array of plants and animals uniquely adapted to different climatic conditions. It is only through the preservation of this diversity that we can truly foster a food-secure future.

400 day Surryano Ham

Surryano Ham Slicing & Storing Tips

Don’t have a machine slicer at home? Not to worry, hand slicing is a can be a difficult skill to master but in reinforces the ancient roots of cured meat. It creates a unique experience compared to the machine generated paper thin slices and allows you to appreciate three-generations of curemaster knowledge that produce the perfect Surryano.

St. John’s Bread and Life |Working to End Hunger

 

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We first heard of St John’s Bread and Life (B&L) when Anthony Butler, the Executive Director, approached us about participating in one of their events providing food for New Yorkers in need. We were surprised to learn that B&L is the largest organization in Brooklyn working to end hunger in our community. Each and everyday Bread and Life supplies thousands of meals to people and families in need. But it wasn’t until we visited their facility on Lexington Avenue in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn that we really fell in love with their mission.

B&L has an amazing staff that works tirelessly to provide food to those without. We came to understand that the majority of those who come to Bread and Life have jobs but still have trouble paying the bills: a salary at McDonalds is not enough to pay for a family with three children. The minimum wage as it stands now is too low and even industrious New Yorkers can run into trouble. Some of B&L’s clients once had good paying jobs but the recession coupled with rising food prices left them making impossible decision, like whether to pay rent that month or buy food.

We admire Bread and Life for working hard to respect their clients’ independence. They help them with tax advice, to obtain voter registration, they provide toys on the holidays, they offer legal advice and social work. They let their clients determine what is best — from what food they eat to what toys they give their children by offering them choices and integrating technology in a way that connects and empowers.

The most remarkable aspect of Bread and Life for us foodies is Anthony and his team make it a priority to serve their clients the best, most nutritious, local, sustainable food possible. Through grants and donations Bread and Life serves delicious, clean and fair food – especially during the holidays. Obtaining enough food to feed as many mouths as Bread and Life does is not easy. The fact that they seek out the nation’s best is all the more commendable. The kitchen staff, led by Christie Robb, prepare each and every meal with care and dedication.

Fighting hunger through gastronomy is a revolutionary idea. One of Anthony’s goals is to unite the great chefs of New York with the work of their staff who feed so many. Through seminars the staff learns the ways of the best chefs. Through events like the one this February 26th, B&L brings in the best talent to work with their team, teaching technique and respect to the process of eating and preparation.

We believe everyone should support St John’s Bread and Life in whatever way is significant to them. Without the safety net they provide people would go hungry. Whether it’s driving a truck into flooded neighborhoods during a hurricane or serving thousands on Christmas or Thanksgiving, your donation will go a long way. We encourage you to visit and learn more about them and to attend this amazing event this coming Thursday.

Please Visit www.BreadandLife.org

Bread and Live | Eat to End Hunger Benefit Event | Menu
Bread and Live | Eat to End Hunger Benefit Event | Menu

Steak Tasting Notes

 

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Every week the team at Heritage conducts taste comparisons on different brands and breeds of product alongside one another. This week we sampled seven steaks from across the country. The mix included 100 % grass-fed beef, grass fed/ grain finished beef, and even bison.

We were impressed with the 100 % grass fed beef, which often has a very different set of characteristics than contemporary palettes are accustomed to. The Rib eye and Porterhouse we tasted had notes of grass, tomato, and funk and were pleasantly gamey. We did find them to be less juicy than the grain finished, which we attributed to less marbling.

The spread included 3 sources of grass fed/ grain finished beef, two of which were dry aged. The dry aged steaks were nicely marbled, flavorful and sweet with notes of plum, blue cheese, cornflakes, and alfalfa. The umami even stood out in one of our non-dry aged Akaushi Rib eyes, which had notes of lime, funk, mushroom, clove, and blue cheese.

The bison we sampled was 100% grass fed. They had a nice texture, but the finish was metallic and bitter.

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