Dear Heritage Foods USA Supporter,
We are happy to announce the premiere of “Newman Farm University - Agri-tourism in the USA.” We can say from first hand experience that this is a once in a lifetime chance to see a most beautiful part of America, to witness what the Newmans do and eat well too. Please read the brochure below.
Feel free to call us or the Newman’s for more information! Or if you would like a hard copy of the below brochure by mail. The dates of the next Newman Farm University are Septermber 26 to 28. The price is $1,495 per person. All proceeds from the weekend will go to support Newman Farm and their efforts to respect their animals even in this age of soaring grain prices and increased fuel costs.
Read a great article by Jill Silva in the Kansas City Star about the first edition of the Newman Farm University.
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To celebrate the NewU, we offer 20% off on any order of
Newman Certified Humane® Berkshire pork!
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Farmer's Art | Heritage pork: Not so lean cuisine
Missouri farmers and butchers are supplying the nation's top chefs with tasty heritage pork breeds
By JILL WENDHOLT SILVA
The Kansas City Star - August 5, 2008
Nate Appleman stands in the abattoir at Paradise Locker Meats in Trimble, Mo., just inches away from the hanging carcass of a 300-pound Berkshire hog.
Abattoir is an elegant French word for slaughterhouse. But the rising star chef does not so much as flinch, even though moments earlier he had witnessed the hog’s last breath. Even though the day before he had watched spotted piglets romping through pastures at Newman Farm in the Ozarks.
Most days the 29-year-old chef is at his popular San Francisco restaurants A 16 and SPQR or working on his third restaurant, Urbino, due to open in January 2009 in an up-and-coming neighborhood known as Dogpatch. At 6,000 square feet, Urbino is large enough to include a commissary where Appleman will hand-cut his own meat from whole animals.
On this day Appleman is one of five chefs from trendsetting restaurants around the country who have paid their own way to see how the heritage-breed hogs they serve for dinner live — and die.
Watching a hog slaughter is not for the squeamish. But for a growing number of top chefs, putting richer-tasting pork on the plate means learning more about how the hogs are raised.
Heritage pork starts on the farm with genetically superior breeds, such as Berkshire, Red Wattle, Tamworth and Duroc, and ends with custom butchering, an art fewer meat-cutters are mastering in the Age of McRib.
The two-day Newman University agri-culinary tour is the brainchild of Patrick Martins, the co-founder of Heritage Foods USA. Since 2002 the company has promoted independent family farms, biodiversity, humane production and traceability in the food supply. Last year the company sold $5 million worth of heritage-breed pork, turkey, chicken, beef, bison, lamb and goat.
Visiting chefs include Mark Ladner, executive chef/partner of Del Posto, the pinnacle of fine dining in the New York-based Lidia Bastianich/Mario Batali empire; Colin Alevras, chef/owner of the Tasting Room in New York City; Anna Klinger of Al di La, an American chef who runs the popular restaurant in Brooklyn with her Italian-born husband; and Zach Allen, executive chef of Carnevino in Las Vegas, another outpost in the far-flung Batali restaurant group.
The day before the trip to the meat locker in Trimble, 25 miles north of Kansas City, the chefs had visited Mark and Rita Newman’s hog farm in Myrtle, Mo. The last stop on the tour was a heritage pork dinner at Justus Drugstore: A Restaurant in Smithville, prepared by chef/owner Jonathan Justus.
Although there are pockets of heritage producers in other parts of the country, 80 percent of the Heritage Foods-branded pork comes from small family farms in Kansas and Missouri, a region Martins refers to as the epicenter of a larger heritage foods movement.
While commercial hog producers may butcher thousands of animals a day, Mark Newman delivers only 100 Berkshire hogs each week for processing and shipping from Paradise Locker Meats.
“We’re a very small producer in today’s world,” he says.
Chefs are willing to pay a premium for heritage pork because the animals spend their whole lives in a pasture, growing to market weight more slowly. As a result, they produce meat that is richer tasting, darker in color and more heavily marbled.
Although the pork is also available to the home cook, it is more expensive than supermarket brands — four slabs of St. Louis-style ribs cost $135 plus shipping.
“The thing is,” Appleman says, “in a blind taste-test setting, the better pork always wins. In a supermarket setting, the inferior pork always wins. (Consumers) have heard pork is lean and ‘the other white meat,’ so they go for the palest, whitest meat.”
No bones about it
Charlotte Fulkerson calls herself a picky eater — she likes her meat off the bone and without any visible fat.
A regular at Justus Drugstore, she was persuaded one night to give the pork shank a try. When it arrived at the table, she was shaken to see her $25 entrée included a substantial bone. But just one taste of the fork-tender meat, with its “delectable” pockets of fat, and she was a convert.
“It’s really difficult to buy at (the supermarket) after you’ve had heritage pork,” says Fulkerson, who lives in Trimble and is a teacher in the Liberty school district.
If you ask a farmer like Newman, the flavor Fulkerson tasted is from the intramuscular fat on the hog. A chef like Dan Swinney refers to the same fat as marbling, a trait that has been bred out of pork in recent decades to cater to fat-phobic consumers.
“I’m not sure where I first tasted heritage pork, but I remember it kind of brought back a flavor memory I’d tasted as a kid,” says Swinney, the executive chef at Lidia’s Kansas City.
About five years ago Swinney was ordering pork from other suppliers. But when he found out the same quality product was being raised and processed in his own backyard, he became the first local chef to buy from Heritage Foods.
Soon the other Bastianich/Batali chefs followed Swinney’s lead.
Lidia’s Kansas City uses many lesser cuts, while prime cuts are shipped to Del Posto, where the check average is two to three times higher.
Swinney’s menu features chops and shanks, as well as pork bellies used to make pancetta and pork shoulder to make Luganega sausage that flavors the restaurant’s popular “Sunday Sauce.”
Meanwhile, Mario Fantasma, who owns Paradise Locker Meats in Trimble, knows that to supply chefs across the country with Missouri-raised heritage pork, he needs to understand what they do with the raw ingredients.
“You just can’t put two and two together if you don’t go and eat at the restaurant,” Fantasma says. “We’ve been to New York, and I probably gained 50 pounds, but we got to taste all these products from a chef’s perspective.”
And yes, Mario has actually met Mario.
“He’s a great guy,” Fantasma says of Batali. “He let us even go in his kitchen … as a matter of fact he said, ‘Are you going to do any work tonight, or not?’ I said, ‘Give me a knife and let’s get going!’ ”
Compassion and more
Ladner, the soft-spoken, introspective chef of Del Posto, admits he wasn’t sure what to expect when he signed on to watch the slaughter of his dinner.
“It’s an important part of the process to witness,” he says. “I’ve certainly watched films and the sensationalized videos and all this stuff, but it was very, very civilized. It was very calm. It was really clean. Everybody there seemed like they were very focused and well-trained and actually interested in what they were doing.”
But here he is ordering from the menu at Justus Drugstore, which features a choice of Berkshire pork shank with wild arugula pesto, hominy, Berkshire bacon, creamy polenta, arugula salad and fresh apple vinaigrette for $23 or a Berkshire pork ribeye with caramelized shallots, Maytag blue cheese and fig sauce atop housemade pasta with green beans for $25.
“Most of the stories you hear are that (small farms are) dying and that we’re on the cusp of a global food crisis,” Ladner says as the chefs, farmers and butchers tablehop late into the night. “And these guys are — through many different measures — trying to reverse these trends. They’re really positive, ethical, ecological. … Anything we can do to embrace that, we’ll try to do. It’s undeniably our future.”
Mark Newman, the farmer, agrees. “We’ve always taken it for granted that if we produce it, they will buy it. And that’s not the case. As things change, we need to supply consumers with the best eating experience they can have.”
But in a time of rising food prices, are consumers willing to pay more for premium pork?
Martins sees heritage foods as something that could one day become as popular as organic food at Wal-Mart. “It’s not our job to change the world, but maybe it is our job to set the standard that other people could strive to achieve,” he says.
PIGS ARE NOT WIDGETS
When Catherine Friend became a Minnesota sheep farmer, she began to question her own carnivorous appetites and wound up writing The Compassionate Carnivore: Or, How to Keep Animals Happy, Save Old McDonald’s Farm, Reduce Your Hoofprint, and Still Eat Meat (De Capo Lifelong, $24), published in May.
“The fate of animals raised on sustainable farms is the same as that of livestock raised in CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations): to be finished and killed for meat,” she writes. “But while they’re alive, animals on sustainable, pasture-based farms are given the chance to live more natural lives.”
Although she has not actually witnessed the slaughter of an animal, in her chapter “Inside an Abattoir” she sees “both carnivores and animal rights/welfare groups are finally getting on the same page: regardless of how one feels about eating animals, no one wants to see them suffer.”
Heritage Turkeys are never frozen, includes neck and giblets, and comes with a traceability certificate that states the turkey farm where your turkey is from. Calculate one pound per person.
Early Bird Special! $10 off all whole turkey orders placed by Labor Day.
Prices below reflect $10 discount.
Bone-in Heritage Turkey Breast 4-6 lbs – Shipping Included - $84
Bone-in Heritage Turkey Breast 6-8 lbs – Shipping Included - $99
Thanksgiving Heritage Turkey 8-10 lbs – Shipping Included - $119
Thanksgiving Heritage Turkey 10.1-12 lbs – Shipping Included - $129
Thanksgiving Heritage Turkey 12.1-14 lbs – Shipping Included - $149
Thanksgiving Heritage Turkey 14.1-16 lbs – Shipping Included - $169
Thanksgiving Heritage Turkey 16.1-18 lbs – Shipping Included - $179
Thanksgiving Heritage Turkey 18.1-20 lbs – Shipping Included - $189
Thanksgiving Heritage Turkey 20.1-22 lbs – Shipping Included - $199
Thanksgiving Heritage Turkey 22.1-24 lbs – Shipping Included - $209