Tag: Heritage


Using Seaweed to Feed Our Pigs!

Although it may seem strange at first, our pig farmers are having fantastic results by sustainably harvesting the ocean for high-nutrition feed for our otherwise traditionally farmed Heritage pork.

The farms we use are some of the first to use seaweed in the feed, and the results have been incredible.

David Newman of Newman Farms — one of our top partners and most noted pork experts in the world (he is also a professor of animal sciences at Arkansas State University, and is as dedicated to education as he is to sound, sustainable, and healthy farming) recently told Outside magazine that his 200 Berkshire sows are thriving on seaweed-based feed.

The benefits of seaweed are impressive, and could make a huge impact on commercial farming as well by reducing the need for antibiotics and selective growth promoters, promoting animal health, producing excellent quality meat, and even having a positive environmental impact, due to improved gut health and reduced animal waste.

We’re proud to be on the cutting edge of all-natural and sustainable solutions, and seaweed is part of this brave new world.

Hot Dog!

All of our animals are raised on-pasture, because we believe that is the way animals should be raised. Our animals are happy and healthy. Being outdoors, roosting and rooting, is how they were meant to be. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

New! for Memorial Day, our Hot Dog Sampler $52
Taste our favorite hot dog varieties from Original to Pepperoni, Gyro, and Buffalo Chicken — all from our friends at Brooklyn Hot Dog Company!

Burgers and Hot Dog Pack $59
Chops and Hot Dog Pack $72
Steaks and Hot Dog Pack $88
Bacon and Hot Dog Pack $69

 

Sausages:

We are excited to announce a BRAND NEW duck sausage from Smoking Goose Meatery in Indianapolis, IN. This Smoked Duck and Pear Sausage is a blend of duck and pork seasoned with pears, fennel pollen, and port, and smoked until fully cooked — try it now in our Sausage Lover’s Package! Smoking Goose partners with small, family farms in Indiana and neighboring states who raise animals humanely, on pasture and without antibiotics.

 

How to Master the Double Cut Tomahawk Chop : An Epic Tale of Pork Chop Wonder

The double cut tomahawk chop looks like something cut by God’s own butcher — it is as powerful a presentation as it is elegant, the kind of thing that makes meat lovers genuflect with love even as they wonder how to cook the darn thing. It’s over two inches thick and it takes some secret knowledge to nail it at a perfect medium while getting all the flavor, juice and texture out of the chop without incineration the outside, without having to go lower slower… the finished product must be seared to perfection, and when cut open, be as pretty and pink as any thing ever to grace your plate. The pay off is huge. You don’t want to screw it up. Don’t worry, we are here to help.

We owe our two-hit technique to Zach Allen, the chef at Carnevino, the Batali and Bastianich citadel of steak out in Las Vegas. These are the same chops they serve there, and at Babbo, and if you’ve ever had the pleasure, the only way to describe the experience is epic. You can plan an afternoon around one of these chops.

First thing: Brine. While not entirely necessary with luscious, healthy, Heritage pork, it definitely helps with these extra-thick cuts to make sure that you won’t dry them out when you put them in the broiler.

 

Brine is easy. We use just salt, and for a minimum of four hours, but you could add a little brown sugar and leave ‘em in the fridge over night.

An alternative to adding that extra bit of sweetness to the brine, is to try a balsamic and sugar glaze to add during the final minutes of cooking – just half a cup of balsamic and about six teaspoons of sugar reduced by about half until the remaining liquid will coat a spoon. Takes about 15 minutes, and you kitchen will smell like vinegar, but can be done way in advance. This will add just a little sweet tang to the chop – not enough to compete with the beautiful taste of the meat, just a note to add a little value to a very thick slice of pork.

For now just dry off the chops and hit them with Kosher salt and ground black pepper.

Now, fire up the iron skillet. Make it smokin’. Begin by searing and rendering the fat cap on these honeys – you can cook them side to side in their own goodness. No need for oil.

Flip them every two minutes or so – the quick flip method encourages more heat through the entire chop, and you’ll start to see a nice crust on the outside. Everything here is done by vibe, but when it looks nice and brown, maybe 8 – 10 mins total cooking, take them out of the pan, and let them rest, tented, for about 10 mins.

That’s the secret. The meat is still cooking, you’ll have a lot less to travel now to get them to medium. Meanwhile, put the pan in the broiler to keep it hot. 

After ten minutes, paint them with a bit of the glaze, return them to the pan, and put then under the broiler. You will be surprised at how fast they cook. Flip them in 4 or 5 minutes and give them another 4 or 5 on the other side before taking them out testing them for doneness with a thermometer. Just north of 120 degrees is where you want to be – don’t forget they’ll cook while they rest. The glaze will have caramelized and is just going to be a sweet kiss, not a big flavor. Set them aside, tent them, give them 8 or ten minutes, and serve with confidence.

After a few rounds with the knife and fork you can separate the two chops right between the bones for an extra round of gnawing. The beauty of these chops is they take much longer to eat than they do to cook and have the odd quality of building the ego of whomever is enjoying them. Serve with heroic, big wine.

Sam Edwards Update: STILL FIGHTING!

Sam Edwards is still fighting two years after a fire savaged his entire facility including his home, his smoke house, and literally thousands of hams. It was an incredible blow to everyone that is part of the chain — Heritage had thousands of hams on hand that Sam would normally smoke and cure, and an entire network of family farmers who depend on Sam’s business every year was left stranded.

But Sam was quick to make partnerships, and a new league of American curemasters stepped up and entered the high-end Heritage ham market with purebred, pasture-raised hams.

Sam is still trying to rebuild — hold ups from lawyers and insurance companies are keeping his hands tied, but plans for a new facility are already on the table, and Sam is working hard with partners across the South to produce the famous Edwards product.

“I spend a lot of time going to Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, checking on our different products with collaborators who are working with our original recipe. I’m thankful for what they are doing for us… It’s not a long-term solution but they are keeping us viable.”

The Edwards hams were more intense before our fire, like the difference between a mild cheese and a sharp cheese…

The one new product to look for is dry-cured Heritage Lamb, hopefully ready for late spring.

“Craig Rogers of Border Spring Farm in VA is providing the lamb… We were rolling it out pre fire, had already tested it and think we found the right recipe and were ready to start shipping when the fire hit, so we are anxious to get that online.”

But the big news is that July is when we’ll be getting to the first batches of new Edwards Surryano Hams that began curing in July of 2017 — the ham that started the revolution.

“After our fire, in 2016, we began sending our hams to a smokehouse in Kentucky to be ready in 2017,” Sam reminds us, “but they burned down in Feb 2017 and we lost 6000 pieces of ham…”

It’s been an incredible battle to get back up and keep on doing it — Sam is a true hero to us, one of our favorite partners, not to mention a damn nice guy. We can’t wait.

Help Us Protect the Healthiest, Most Ethical, and Tastiest Meat Available!

Dear Heritage Foods Supporter,

It has been a tremendous year for Heritage Foods, heritage breeds, and heritage farms.

With success comes challenges: Right now there is a movement in the commercial food industry to change the definition of the word “heritage,” and attempt to lay claim to the very thing that has defined us and sustained our farmers since we began selling heritage breeds in 2001.

It’s funny that “heritage,” a word that meant little to big business when we started, is suddenly so appealing.

The definition of “heritage” is simple, and tied to a proud history:

HERITAGE livestock and poultry are purebred genetic lines that can be traced back unchanged to an original herd or flock prior to the beginning of industrial farming.

There is no such thing as a new heritage breed. We understand trendy marketing, but “heritage” means something significant to us, to our farmers, to our customers, and to our industry.

As we look to 2018, we will continue to fight for genuine heritage farms and breeds.

It’s important to remember that when our partner farmers originally decided to raise heritage breeds, they were taking a huge risk. Traditionally, the only established, secure, and reliable sales outlet for farmers was the commodity market — venues like commercial supermarkets and the fast food industry — which pays pennies on the pound for product and demands the very worst of industrial farming protocols just to make a profit.

By committing to heritage breeds and slow, traditional farming practices, our farmers have become entirely dependent on those who understand the value of genuine heritage breeds. Call it community-supported-agriculture, or chef-supported-agriculture if you like, but at its heart Heritage Foods is a network of hardworking American family farmers who believe in your right to the healthiest, most ethical, ecological, and tastiest food imaginable.

By buying certified heritage you can be certain that not one penny goes to industrial farming. Your continued support ensures heritage breeds gain in strength, numbers, and importance in our national dialogue on food.

We are always on the lookout for new and exciting culinary adventures — especially in the charcuterie world and with our oven-ready creations — but our brand is based on time, tradition, history, and respect. That is the true meaning of heritage.

We hope to hear from you early and often in 2018!
Thank you for your support.

Sincerely,

Patrick Martins
Founder

Leftovers!

One of the best things about making big dinners is having leftovers for lunch the next day.

Usually, if we have some steak or lamb left over, it is going into a sandwich. But have you thought about making hash? Lamb hash is a very special treat indeed — just like beef hash all you have to do is chop some potatoes and onions and peppers and have at it (you can always find a recipe online if you don’t feel like free-styling)… with lamb you can add a bit of curry, and it still goes great with eggs or just on its own.

Doing unexpected things with the leftovers is the hallmark of a great chef. Ham sandwiches are great, of course, but how about whipping up a cordon blue? And if that ham has a bone-in, you are looking at the beginning of some great soup.

Here’s an easy tip: pretty much all leftover meat is good on pizza.

Here is another: pretty much all leftover meat is great in a taco.

Leftovers are definitely an art form in themselves. But as ever, it all starts with the ingredients!

When is a Ham Not a Ham?

When it is a classic, Heritage maple sugar-cured ham it is so much more than a ham that the old descriptors no longer apply.

This is a holiday waiting to happen. This is the thing that brings families together. This is the thing that puts smiles on faces. This is wholesome, pasture-raised, maple-cured ham, the cornerstone of American cooking, loved universally as a centerpiece for a holiday meal, casual dining, or as the main ingredient in an iconic ham sandwich.

The Heritage maple sugar-cured ham is a stone cold classic, any time of year. It is your Christmas ham, but we won’t look twice if you enjoy it on a Fall night or summer picnic.

These hams are already cooked so they are ready for eating, but a little heat will help bring out the delicious juices of the heritage meat. You can add a family favorite glaze, or stud it with cloves, cover it with cherries and pineapples — there is no spice or seasoning this delicious ham won’t welcome.

So… when is a ham not a ham?? OK, so it’s a trick question. But our customers agree, that after tasting Heritage ham, those other, ham-shaped objects in the supermarket just don’t make the grade.

Why a Duck? Ask Dickens!

The best thing about the holidays is always the food, that is, if you are doing it right! As we say here, let nature lead the way — great food is seasonal and should be celebrated in its own time. Look no farther than the books of Charles Dickens and ask why they always seemed to be eating geese at Christmas? Because that is when naturally mating geese and ducks are ready for harvest. It is nature’s way of writing a menu.

Our Aylesbury ducks, by the way, are the most incredible birds ever to make it all the way from London to your table! And their story is one of the best you will hear at the table.

The Aylesbury duck reached its peak popularity in the late 1800s when thousands of ducklings were sent from the town of Aylesbury to London and served by the top restaurants of the day.

Since then, the Aylesbury was crossed with other breeds like the Pekin, which fared better in industrial settings. If it were not for a few dedicated farmers who kept it pure, it is likely the breed would have disappeared for good. The Aylesbury Duck is listed on the Most Endangered List with fewer than 500 breeding birds left in the U.S. We’re proud to be offering these ducks this season — and no matter what you have heard, they are simple to prepare, not much different than roasting a chicken, and they are sure to make you a superstar in the kitchen!

The Aylesbury boasts a bouncy texture and rich, creamy fat. Its robust flavor with nutty and herbaceous notes make this the most flavorful duck on the market today. These ducks are raised outdoors on ponds and pasture with no hormones or antibiotics.

Americans consume less than 1/3 lb. of duck per year but we hope to restore the bird’s presence on the farm and at your dinner table.

Still need convincing? Here’s our recipe for a simple whole roast duck. If you love duck, and want a truly spectacular bird beyond what is even available in restaurants, you can’t possibly go wrong!

Click here for a simple duck recipe.

Paul Wetzel, Sous Chef and Visionary Charcutier of Gramercy Tavern

Paul Wetzel, visionary charcutier of Gramercy Tavern — Danny Meyer’s pioneering, Michelin-starred seasonal restaurant in Manhattan — is like a troubadour of cured meat, traveling from town to town to share the ancient art, listening and learning as he goes.

“I’ve gotten to the point at Gramercy that I have a strong team that supports me – so when I take time off, I plan trips to go to Italy to see salumi being made, or I visit butcher shops and processing plants… I grew up on a farm in North Ohio, and that was the foundation for what I’m doing now… it’s great not to just come from just the chef aspect, — a lot of chefs don’t understand what its like to be on the farm 365 days a year, getting up at 5 am, everyday, what it takes to raise an animal… , you can’t just say, Oh I want the fat this way, when you don’t really see how it happens.”

There is a charcuterie renaissance happening in America, and Paul is at its very foundation. Like his mentor, Swiss-born charcutier Francois Vecchio, Paul takes a “holistic approach” to his art — his respect for the animal goes back to the farm. “In just the past 6 or 7 years there’s been a shift in whole-animal butchers shops and artisanal charcuterie. There are more small producers doing fine product and it puts pressure on big scale producers who are basically cut off from the earth. This is where a lot of our problems have come from. They don’t understand that animals need to be grazing and healthy.

“And we try to buy nose to tail for a lot of reasons —we try to use as much of the animal as possible , from confit to sausages to curing meats, maximizing utilization. It’s less money than buying parts, of course, and it drives menu development — If you are just buying bellies and chops, you’re more likely to stay in a rut.”

Chili Montes of Bi-Rite Market in San Francisco

We talk a lot about restaurants, probably too much! 

As much as we love the luminaires who put Heritage Foods front and center on their menus, we want to sing the praises of something just a little bit closer to street level: the supermarket!

And not just any supermarket – the Bi-Rite family of markets in San Francisco is at the heart of their communities. Almost Sesame Street-like in its neighborhood friendliness, Bi-Rite remains an idyllic outpost of what an old-fashioned market should be. Customers talk to each other while waiting on line. Across the street is their legendary ice cream shop, the Bi-Rite Creamery.

Chili Montes is Meat and Seafood Buyer for the Bi-Rite family, and head of the Bi-Rite butcher program where for over twenty years he has distinguished himself not only as an educator and advocate, but as an ally, and one of our favorite guys ever to wear a white apron.

“Every month of the year in San Francisco there is some sort of food-centric holiday — except for August,” says Chili, “so for the last two years, we’ve worked with Heritage Foods on “Hog-ust,” and bring in as many breeds as we can during that month. It gives customers a chance to try them all and celebrate the differences between animals that may have been at the brink of extinction. It has been a huge conversation starter. People really get into it.

“Heritage Foods, as much as they are a business partner, they are also a facilitator in education — I have visited their famers, they’ve helped me learn what it takes to produce meat, and the difficulties and rewards of agriculture, especially on a smaller scale with farmers committed to doing things the right way — a focus on quality rather than quantity. I buy a lot of pork from Heritage, but we’ve bought turkeys, goat, steer. We also have local farmers and ranchers we support, and I spend time with them as well.

“There is a very specific consciousness in the way we converse with our guests at Bi-Rite — early on there needed to be a justification for why our product wasn’t the same price as in a chain supermarket, but once they purchase our meat and produce, the taste and the flavor speak for themselves, They just needed a connection to understand why things are a few dollars more.

“I’ve got the best job in the world. At Bi-Rite our customers reward us for the work that we put in with their support for us and what we do, and their willingness to engage in conversation, to have a dialogue with the people who produce their food – It’s amazing, especially in an age when people don’t like to talk to other people!”

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