We start with happy and healthy animals who have been raised with every benefit in the hills of Western Vermont. From there, we continue with ethical ways in crafting our meat and turning it into a wholesome and tasty source of proteins.
It takes four people, two weeks, and lots of patience to select and butcher the meat in a way that we feel honors the animal and Italian traditions.
Five pigs yields 2 whole muscles of each type (prosciutto = cured leg , pancetta = cured belly, coppa = cured boston butt, lonzino = cured loin and guanciale = cured cheek) and 200 lbs of salame meat (coming shoulders and legs), which becomes 110 lbs of salami when cured and dried.
Each individual muscle is separated and “cleaned” from tendons, silver skin and collagen.
For the salami, in addition, we have to select the back fat, a thin layer under the skin that holds all of the animals flavors and has the perfect consistency and characteristics for curing. We could simplify and reduce costs by putting entire muscles in the grinding machine, but we take pride in our meticulous and careful process.
Whole muscles after being selected go into the curing process, which consists of adding salt and spices and a “resting phase” at low temp, generally a week or 10 days.
Lean and fat go into a grinding machine and gets reduced to small particles before being mixed. Unlike larger industries, our mixing is still done by hand which takes 20 to 30 minutes for a batch of 60 lbs. In this phase, we achieve the best distribution of fat, curing/spice mix and wine in our product. We also conduct quality checks and scrupulously inspect the meat again.
We use only natural casing to stuff our cured meats. Whole muscles are stuffed in big casings while salami go through a stuffer machine and a smaller diameter casing. The natural casing is vital for two reasons:
What machines process in 30 minutes, four of us can complete in 8 hours. Our stuffing is done by hand so each salami is slightly different than the next. By handling each salami, we can control the internal pressure of the meat which is a variable that can affect the texture and the proper aging of the product.
During this step we create the borders between one salami and the next while for whole muscles is essential to hold their shape and allow the water to come out more easily.
Tying with twine is an artistic tradition that allows us to be deliberate with our creations. Tying requires skills, patience, and concentration and is an essential aspect to preserving traditions and bringing you a product that is authentic and true.
Twine can even be seen in our logo.
Biology and technology are part of the last step, where the real magic happens. There are three phases and a multitude of variables. While the phases differ from each other, they all need one main thing: PATIENCE!
Once your cured meat arrives, it will continue to age and its flavor will vary and absorb scents in the environment. Be careful where you choose to store it! See our blog to learn tips on how to store it, preserve it, and how quickly you should consume it.
People may think pigs are the smartest farm animal, but our chickens can outsmart some of our pigs!