Tag: Certified Humane

Paradise Locker Meats

Our Partners at Paradise Locker Meats

We are proud to toast Paradise Locker Meats on their anniversary!

Paradise Locker Meats
Paradise Locker Meats

Paradise Locker Meats is family-owned and operated meat processing plant and retail shop in Trimble, Missouri. In business since 1995, the Fantasma Family (Mario, his wife Teresa, and sons Louis & Nick) have gained a reputation for providing quality meat products and practicing humane killing. Paradise Locker’s facility is both USDA inspected and Certified Humane. They supply meat to some of the best restaurants in the country through Heritage Foods USA and the growing Kansas City market. The Fantasmas are also great curers of hams, belly and chops. Their line of award-winning sausages are created from family recipes that trace back to pre-World War II Europe.

Mario’s introduction to the meat business was at S&S Meat Co. where he worked as a runner. He pulled cuts for a year and then went on to became a butcher’s apprentice for several more years. When Paradise Locker Meats, a local processing facility, went on the market, Mario and Teresa jumped at the opportunity to own their own shop. Mario and Teresa took over Paradise in 1995 strictly as a custom cut shop with a very small “retail” section consisting of a single freezer. Their sons, Louis and Nick, started helping the family by cleaning up after their school day at age 15 and 13 respectively. In 2002, the facility caught fire and much of the structure was destroyed. Mario was forced to rebuild on new land in the nearby town of Trimble, but kept the name “Paradise” to let the community know that he would continue his work with local ranchers and farmers.

When Mario rebuild on 5 acres a year later, he “was planning on doing 10 hogs and 10 beef a week which is a pretty good number for a small plant.” The family added a smokehouse to do a little cooking and develop select smoked products. Soon, Mario was contacted by Doug Metzger, a hog farmer near Seneca, Kansas, who was already working with Heritage Foods USA. We were looking for a processing plant that was USDA-inspected and Paradise decided to take the next step in their history. In 2004, the Fantasma family switched the business from a state-inspected facility to a federally inspected one. This change allowed Paradise to ship across state lines and process out-of-state animals.

Fantasma Family
Nick, Mario, and Lou Fantasma at Paradise Locker Meats

The first Heritage Foods USA order was for 20 hogs for mail order customers. Over the next two years, this standing order grew to 60 hogs a week as we added whole sale to the operation. As the orders grew and grew, the Fantasma family finally decided to take a risk and stop breaking down whole deer to focus on the heritage hogs business with Heritage Foods USA. Patrick Martins explained, “They had to give deer season up in the hope that this kind of restaurant supported agriculture would stay.” We are proud to say that it has only become stronger.

Paradise takes humane slaughter very seriously. The pigs and cattle that go through the facility are treated with the utmost care and respect. During a recent visit to the facility, Louis showed the Heritage Foods USA team the misting fan in the hog pen for summer time to keep them comfortable. “I remember the misting fan arrived, and I was putting it together,” Louis said. “Our slaughter guys asked if we got a misting fan for the kill floor. I laughed and told them, ‘No, it’s for the hog pen outside.’ But that is how we look at it. We really take care of our hogs around here.” Paradise’s hogs are cut to order and the facility focuses on one breed at a time to be sure customers know exactly what breed they are receiving.

Paradise Locker Meats has grown a great deal alongside local farmers and Heritage Foods USA. Over the past decade, the operation has grown from five to 25 employees, and it has also played an important role in reviving the Kansas City food community of local farmers and restaurants. Mario feels that “as a slaughter house, we give the local chefs an opportunity to utilize the products from the farmers… enabling them to use more local products on their menus.” Paradise also boasts a continually growing retail outlet in the front of the plant.

On a recent visit to Paradise, Mario told the Heritage Foods USA team that their relationship “opened the doors for so many things. Now there are farmers markets that are opened up. People are wanting to raise their animals, have it processed, take it right to the market and sell it themselves. Heritage really helped us grow in that aspect.”

Paradise Locker Meats process 150 hogs a week and several cattle for Heritage Foods USA.


Hear the Fantasma’s on Heritage Radio Network:



An Intro to Heritage Pork Breeds

The core of Heritage Foods USA’s mission is to preserve rare heritage breeds. We work hard to support family farms that raise their animals on natural diets and without the aid of antibiotics, which are common on industrial farms.

Red Wattle Pig
A Red Wattle pig raised by Larry Sorell at Lazy S. Farms


Heritage pork is sourced from  Certified Humane Red Wattle or Six-Spotted Berkshire stock. Some of our farmers, however, also raise other rare breeds – Duroc, Old Spot, Large Black, and Tamworth – which are available for purchase by request, or as porterhouse chops and cured hams.

A Berkshire sow with one of her piglets

Berkshire meat is elegant, luscious and smooth. The streaks of fat that run through Berkshire meat produces a round, buttery flavor that melts on the tongue. The firm and substantial texture of Berkshire meat was so cherished by the British monarchy that they exported the breed as far as Japan, where it is called Korobuta.

As seen above, the Red Wattle is the only pig left in the world that still has a wattle hanging from its jowl. Red Wattle meat is charmingly inconsistent; its expressive porky flavor is concentrated and even a little racy. Originating in the South Pacific, the Red Wattle pig populated the backyards of New Orleans during the 18th and 19th centuries where it was bred to stand up to the strong and flavorful Creole cuisine. These gentle red hogs are renowned  foragers: when allowed to roam, their meat develops earthy, herbaceous traces of the vegetation within their locale.

One of Craig Good's Duroc hogs
One of Craig Good’s Duroc hogs

Duroc meat is clean and crisp. Its taste and texture are polished and easy on the palate. Duroc pork is a standard – not too fatty, not too lean, not too strong – but is certainly more flavorful than its factory farmed cousins. In fact, Duroc genetics were used in the foundation of the pig industry, which gained momentum in the 20th century.

Tamworth meat is robust and gutsy, and is the leanest of the heritage pork breeds- making it an excellent source of bacon and jowl. Its balanced flavor is the pork equivalent of a red beer. Despite its presence on the Threatened species list, the Tamworth is a hearty, strong, resilient animal – making it an excellent candidate for the growing urban farm movement around the United States.

A Gloucestershire Old Spot sow from Craig Good's farm
A Gloucestershire Old Spot sow from Craig Good’s farm


Large Black and Gloucestershire Old Spot pigs are listed as critically endangered by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy. Along with the Red Wattle, they are the rarest pig breeds that Heritage Foods sells.

Originating in the Berkley Vale of Gloucestershire during the 1800s, the GOS was bred to lounge around in the orchards of England, where its sole responsibility was to clean up fallen fruit.  The breed became rare after World War II, when the shift to intensive pig production reduced interest in grazing pigs. Due to its supreme laziness, GOS meat is very delicate – even its fat is edible and milky. Old Spots carry a distinct layer of backfat and marbling within their meat, making them the bacon pig of choice for many.

The Large Black is a favorite of farmers who appreciate the breed’s intellect and docility. Its strength, hardiness, and ability  to forage make it a valuable asset for pasture-based farming. The breed is native to southwestern England and gained popularity in the 1800’s as farmers began to see that the animal could easily turn poor-quality feed into large quantities of high-quality meat. The Large Black’s physical characteristics – its dark skin and large ears – make it stand out in terms of appearance and efficiency: its dark skin protects it from sunburn during long hours of grazing, and its long ears shield its eyes from dirt while foraging. Large Blacks are also known for their lean consistency; however, they lack the excess back fat found in the GOS.

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