Category: Projects


Nancy Silverton, Chef Series and Featured Cuts

Our new Chef Spotlight Series explores the minds of visionary chefs committed to preserving endangered breeds by featuring them on their menus. Our inaugural feature is Nancy Silverton, star of Chef’s Table, founder of Campanile and La Brea Bakery and owner of the Mozza Restaurants in Los Angeles.

It’s a trust thing.

When Nancy Silverton was getting ready to open up Osteria Mozza and Pizzeria Mozza in Los Angeles, her partners, Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich, gave her very little direction. “Joe had an idea for an amaro focus at the bar, and of course we had Italian wine. As far as the food, Mario trusted us, but he wanted us to look into working with Patrick and Heritage Foods, which was still very new.

“What sets us apart as an Italian restaurant — and what doesn’t,” says Nancy, in typically exuberant fashion, “is that we are so ingredient driven. Everything has to be local and seasonal, especially produce. Mario wasn’t able to give me any advice about that because he was in New York, and I already had a relationship with my farmers in California. But meat is one of the hardest ingredients to source, and Heritage took the worry out of knowing where it came from — I love their dedication to slow farms and heritage breeds, and we know these animals are raised under the best conditions, which leads to the best quality — and that was the key to our relationship.

“From the beginning we were using all of our pork from Patrick. At the pizzeria we were using shoulder in the grind for the sausage and the meatballs. Now we’re buying whole pigs at Chi Spacca, and if Patrick calls us and says, ‘Hey I have an excess this week, can you use this or that’ – we can buy cuts to use at our other restaurants. We all want zero waste, and I’m supporting all of my values. In October we buy Heritage goats — last year we featured it for the whole month at Chi Spacca. We do goat sausage, we braise it, we cure it and make salumi.

“Back in ’89 when I opened Campanile it was the beginning of careful sourcing, and I would list our farmers on the menu. But after a while it began to look too commercial. When someone said ‘farm to table’ it could mean anything. So now I always just explain to our servers the back story, and they can tell the customers if anyone is interested. But I know they can taste the difference. I just found a producer of bufala milk mozzarella in Sonoma – it’s the first bufala not from Italy that we’ve found of this kind of quality, so that’s why I mention it. I’m very excited!”

Featured Cuts from This Week’s Chef Series:

Pork Loin, Boneless
Red Wattle or Berkshire
4lb bone-in or boneless $75
8lb bone-in or boneless $140

Pork Boston Butt Shoulder
Red Wattle or Berkshire
4lb bone-in $59
8lb bone-in or boneless $116

Ground Goat
Oberhasli
Three 1lb packs $55

Goat Belly with Ribs
Oberhasli
4lb total $59

CESARE CASELLA – OLD WORLD MEETS NEW, PART 2: THE LEGEND OF THE NORCINI

News of the Heritage Foods partnership with master curemaster, chef, educator, and guru Cesare Casella has spread like wildfire — Cesare is a leader in the new movement for Heritage American charcuterie, and no one is more excited than, well, Cesare!

“The lardo, the rosemary, the juniper berries, the curing salts, those smells are inside my head,” says Cesare. “They are part of me. It’s like being an alchemist. The norcino salumiere transforms the butchers’ meat into something traditional and beautiful. That is what I want to do. And for me, it’s family. Tending the salumi as they age is like caring for my pets as they grow up and mature. They become my best friends!”

The tradition of the norcini started in the town of Norcia in Umbria, high in the Apennines, a place famous for its cured meats. Farming conditions were poor in the mountains, so Norcians ate what they had plenty of, which was the cinghiale, or wild boar, that roamed the forests. They also raised their own pigs, then cured the meats so it would keep for long periods, an art that evolved over the centuries. In time, the norcini became so expert, their art was recognized both by the state and by the Catholic Church. After the trade group, the Confraternita Norcina was founded in 1615, it received the blessing of Pope Paul V. The norcini were considered so skilled, they were allowed to practice surgery, dentistry and bone setting.

The original norcini typically traveled in pairs. There was the butcher who cut up the meat and broke it down, and the salumiere, who turned that meat into salumi. Together, the norcini made the salumi for every season, from fresh sausage for the next day, to prosciutto for the following year. Each duo had its own routes and loyal farmers that it serviced year again and again, and as the men crisscrossed Italy, they carried with them the secret recipes and processes for creating prosciutto and salumi. There were generations of norcini who passed along their secrets to their apprentices who in turn cared for the same family farms decade after decade.

After World War II, as pig farming became industrialized, the norcini began to fade from the Italian countryside, and the visits made to the Casella family and Vipore grew more and more rare. Eventually Cesare took on some of the butchering and salumi-making and also worked with local butchers to get the flavors he wanted for Vipore. His platters of cacciatorini, finocchiona and sopressata became one of the restaurant’s trademarks.

The tradition of the norcini and the flavors and smells of salumi-making in the Italian countryside are what Cesare is drawing on with Casalla’s Salumi Speciali. He is working with farmers dedicated to raising pork as the Norcians did for centuries. Their pigs, he likes to say, are happy pigs. They roam pastures freely. They run around and they roll in the mud. They loll. They’re not dosed with antibiotics. When Cesare makes prosciutto, he cures it on the bone, just as the Norcians did, for that deep, authentic nutty flavor. Just like the norcini, Cesare has his own special recipe for the spices to make his salami and prosciutti.

On the Road with Cesare Casella —  #ProsciuttiForTutti Tour Goes to LaLaLand!!!

Following our perfectly insane foray into San Francisco armed with Cesare Casella’s new line of amazing prosciutti, we returned to the left coast to introduce these Italian-style cured hams to Los Angeles’ best chefs and culinary luminati.

These are truly the very best heritage hams, prepared naturally in a traditional style – cured in only salt, and (unlike American-style hams) never smoked. Casella’s hams are always cured on the bone for extra flavor.

So what do we do when a product is this good? We share it!

We visited our Los Angeles distributor Premier Meats where Patrick wowed the sales reps with Tales of Carnivorous Adventurous and rare-breed preservation (“you have to eat them to save them”) and we hosted a rare breed tasting of porterhouse pork chops, country ribs, and of course Cesare’s finest prosciutti and salami. Special shout outs to Harry, Udi, Omer, Martha and Stacey at Premier, truly an A-Team! Thanks guys!

We spent three days eating, visiting, tasting, and making friends.

Our first night kicked off with a special event at chi Spacca, Nancy Silverton’s meat mecca of the Mozza group — a celebration of all things Heritage Foods. Cesare sliced his prosciutto and cooked an entire course of braised ribs, and superstar Chef Ryan Denicola blew our minds with his presentations of our Silver Fox rabbit and Tunis and Dorset Horn lamb.

We met with old friends and new friends — Neal Fraser at Redbird, Mary Sue Milliken at Border Grill; the amazing Akasha Richmond at AR Cucina; Jon and Vinny of Animal; Chef Steve Samson of Sotto and the forthcoming RossoBlu. We had breakfast at Sqirl with Chef Jessica and Javier; snacks with Chef Javier at Lucques and later cured meats with Alex at Gwen’s gorgeous butcher shop. We can’t forget the famous Papi Chulo (Roy Choi) and Chef Diego at Commissary at The Line Hotel and then somehow we made it to Gjusta for pizza before dinner in Santa Monica at Cassia. And along the way we snuck in drive-bys at Here’s Looking at You, where Red Wattle bellies rule the roost, and the Tasting Kitchen, whose pork rillettes was one of the most memorable flavors of an astonishing, decadent trip.
Did you miss us in LA? Want to taste Cesare’s prosciutto for yourself? We are going to be in Las Vegas in April!

Come eat with us on Saturday, April 1st when Carnevino hosts its first guest chef dinner with Cesare Casella. A one-night only twist on signature dishes featuring three Heritage breeds of pig. Tickets are available at https://cesarecasella.splashthat.com/.

 

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!

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!

Goat Chili

Warm up your fall with this delicious recipe for Goat Chili! Ground goat is incredibly versatile and can be substituted into many traditional recipes. Adapted from Smitten Kitchen and Gourmet. Inspired by Goatober!

Serves 4

1 cup kidney beans (PRO TIP: I used dried beans, soaked overnight, and cooked until tender. I strained the beans and reserved the cooking liquid to add to the chili later.)
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 medium onion, dicedgoat chili
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 carrot, peeled & sliced thin
1 lb. ground goat
2 Tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 Tbsp. paprika
1 tsp. dry oregano
pinch of red pepper flakes to taste
1 15 oz. can crushed tomatoes
¾ cup broth (or the soaking liquid from the beans)
1 Tbsp. cider vinegar
1 green bell pepper, chopped
sour cream, cheese, jalapeños (optional, to finish)

In a large pot, heat oil over moderately low heat and cook the onions in it for 5-10 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and carrots and cook for one minute. Raise the heat to medium and add the goat, stirring and breaking up pieces until no longer pink, about 8 minutes.

Add the chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, and pepper flakes and cook for another minute.

Add the tomatoes, broth (or bean cooking liquid), and cook covered for 30-40 minutes. Add the bell pepper, beans, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for an additional 15 minutes until the peppers are tender.

Top with garnishes and enjoy!

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.

Adapted from Marley Spoon
Serves 2slack-for-ios-upload-5

1 oz. fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
4 oz. chopped veggies, such as pepper, broccoli or greens
12 oz. ground goat
¼ tsp Chinese five spice powder
3 tbsp tamari
3 tbsp mirin
2 tbsp tahini
10 oz. fresh ramen noodles
vegetable, safflower, or canola oil

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Combine goat, five spice powder, and ½ tsp salt in a medium bowl and mix well. Combine tamari and mirin in a small bowl.

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a medium skillet over high. Add veggies, season with salt, and sauté until starting to brown, 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Add 3 tbsp oil to the same skillet over high heat. Add seasoned goat in one layer and cook, breaking up pieces with a wooden spoon until crispy and brown, 4-6 minutes.

Add ginger and garlic to the skillet and cook until fragrant, stirring about 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium-high and stir in tamari and mirin, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Stir in tahini and ¾ cup water. Cook until reduced and just a little sauce remains — about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Add ramen noodles to boiling water and cook until tender but still chewy, 2/3 minutes. Drain. Divide between bowls. Top ramen noodles with the sautéed vegetables and goat sauce. Mix well to combine and coat the noodles.

 

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

The Frank Reese Story

Every super hero needs an origin story.

Frank_for_blog
Frank Reese with his Heritage turkeys at Good Shepherd Poultry Ranch

At Heritage Foods USA, Frank Reese is a super hero. His farming practices should be a model for anyone who cares about taste and the survival and success of true heritage breeds. We started our business because we believed in Frank, and his heritage turkeys have really sustained us. It is nearly impossible to compete with his birds.

One of our favorite things about Frank is that his history is so totally epic. We’ve been hyping it lately to help celebrate the 100th anniversary of his turkey flock, so we thought we’d share it here. This is America at its best!

 
In 1916, poultry farmers with the unlikely name of the Bird Brothers (their real name), won a blue ribbon at a poultry show at Madison Square Garden.

In 1944, the Meyersdale Republican of Meyersdale, Pennsylvania, wrote that the Bird Brothers “success as developers and propagators of the best strains of Giant Bronze turkeys made the name of their firm known in nearly every civilized country in the world. They exhibited fowls at Madison Square Garden for 27 consecutive years, and never without taking blue ribbons.”

1932 BIRD BROTHERS ADD (1) (1)
Bird Brothers ad from 1932

In 1917, the year after their first championship at the Garden, the mother of Frank’s future mentor Norman Kardosh – who Frank would meet at a poultry show in 1955, when Frank was just seven years old– received ten Bird Brother Standard Bronze turkey eggs as a wedding present, and passed them on to her son. These heritage turkeys can be directly traced to 1843 and the Boston Livestock Show.

Long gone are the days when viable bird eggs were given as wedding gifts (or when there were poultry shows in the center of New York City), but back then, in a country driven by family farms, there was nothing strange about it at all. Norman’s mom had the eggs shipped to Kansas by railcar, where Frank would eventually found his farm. These eggs would be the beginning of a flock of Bronze turkeys that by 2016 would become the only breed of turkey whose lineage could be traced back over 173 years — including the last century in Kansas.

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