Meat+Poultry - August 2020 - 62

R E TA I L P R O C E S S I N G

"Our ambition to create
our own prosciutto came
from our desire to take the
bounty that surrounds us in
Iowa to its highest level, by
offering unique dry-cured
meats of the highest quality."
- HERB ECKHOUSE

organic spices whenever possible, and we use sea salt that
comes from the United States."
La Quercia Cured Pork does a small amount of online
retail sales, although that has been increasing due, in
part they think, to the coronavirus. But a major part of
their business has always been in both foodservice and
retail supermarkets.
"When this pandemic started, a major part of our
foodservice sales and business disappeared, because of
what's happened to the restaurant industry in this country,"
Herb said. But in the last few weeks, the foodservice
business has started to turn around. "We've gotten our first
small orders from foodservice, like restaurants and hotels."
And with the return of foodservice in the United States,
with more restaurants doing takeout and curbside service
combined with the movement toward more outside dining at
restaurants, and an increasing amount of inside-restaurant
dining, the Eckhouses are becoming more hopeful that their
foodservice business will increase.
"We primarily sell to distributors - we have distribution
partners across the country. These distributors service small
groups of 10 to 20 stores, as well as individual specialty
stores, where our products are very popular," Herb said.

BEYOND PROSCIUTTO

62

MEAT+ POULTRY | 08.20 | www.meatpoultry.com

Ellen Cronin

La Quercia products include, of course, a large variety of
prosciutto, salami, pepperoni, Jamón Ibérico Americano - a
high-quality cured ham made from American-born Ibérico pigs
- pancetta, bacon, some sausage, and 'Nduja, a spicy blend of
La Quercia cured meats spiced with American red pepper.
"Most of our meats have low perishability, because we

reduce the water content,"
Herb said.
When choosing the farmers to
buy their meat from, the Eckhouses
decided better meat makes better cured meat, and better
meat is very dependent on human animal husbandry.
"So, we've developed protocols and standards for the
animals in our farmers' care," Herb said. "Most of the
pork comes from farmers whose animal raising is thirdparty audited. The protocols include no crates or cages,
no animals from large animal confinement facilities.
The pigs must have room to move around and to root
in deep bedding. They cannot receive non-therapeutic
antibiotics, hormones or synthetic hormones. Illnesses
can be treated by farmers, but no antibiotics can be used
to artificially promote growth. And the pigs cannot be fed
animal byproducts."
La Quercia's suppliers include Heritage Food Farms,
from Osage County, Mo., a farmer-owned company supplying
heritage Berkshire pork for Prosciutto Americano, Speck,
Prosciutto Cicante and Pancetta Americano.
"We use heritage breed Tamworth pork to make
Tamworth Smoked Pancetta and Tamworth Prosciutto, from
Heritage Food Farm," Herb said. "They raise their animals
in pasture-based systems, using the hillsides of the Ozark
Mountains. Russ Kremer raises the Acorn Tamworth hogs.
For the last three or four months of their lives, these hogs
forage freely in an oak and hickory forest. Sixty to 75% of
their diet is acorn and hickory nuts.
"This gives Russ a sustainable way to use the wooded
hillsides on his property," Herb said.


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