We returned a few weeks ago from the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco. It was a wonderful event, and our booth stayed pretty crowded the entire time, so we didn’t get to do much browsing. There were many exhibitors who were touting brand-new products, and “all-natural” and “organic” were certainly buzzwords. We’ll certainly hear a lot of that next week. We’ll be at the Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, California. Booth 5296. Look for us.
While we were wrapping things up at Fancy Food, a firm in Northern California was getting ready to recall almost 9 million pounds of beef. The USDA said that due to processing practices, the “products are…unsound, unwholesome or are otherwise unfit for human food and must be removed from commerce.”
We have also followed the sale of Smithfield Pork to a Chinese company. Smithfield isn’t that far from our Virginia facility, and is one of the largest pork producers in the world. The Chinese are also the largest consumers of pork in the world, so this was a big deal. Before the sale could go through, Smithfield had to agree to stop buying pigs treated with ractopamine, a feed additive that makes pigs leaner and enhances growth. The Chinese, you see, agree with most of the rest of the world in that they don’t want that sort of chemical in their food.
As a company that processes meat to create our salumi, we watched these events with great interest. And it made us think about where we get our meat.
One of our favorite Farmer Partners is Jude Becker at Becker Lane Farms. Jude is a 6th-generation farmer, and his pigs are raised without antibiotics, hormones, or animal byproducts. Further, they are raised without GMO feeds, so are 100% organic. He supplies the pork for our organic line and our Whole Foods exclusive, Gusto.
More importantly, all of our pork comes from high quality farms. Our farmer partners are sustainable farmers, and we refuse to buy pork that has been treated with antibiotics. The pigs eat vegetarian diets, with no animal byproducts, and are all pasture-raised – not in crates or concentrated pens. When the pork comes to us, we slow cure it with natural ingredients, using spices and time to get the perfect cure. We don’t use chemicals or heat to speed things up, enhance color or flavor, or prolong a shelf life. We believe that if you start with quality meat and treat it properly, you’ll end up with a great product that tastes amazing, looks delicious, and is better for you.
It’s great that more companies are buying into the concept of “all-natural” and “organic.” It’s even better that consumers are driving this trend. But at Olli Salumeria, this isn’t trendy or a clever use of words for marketing. For over 160 years, this is how Oliviero Colmignoli’s family cured meat, and with us, it’s just “business-as-usual.”