Portland, Oregon is a city so dedicated to the locavore movement that it has been the feed of frequent parody. While you will never take yourself too seriously, the environmental consequences of how and where we get our food are no laughing matter. It is a concept not to be missed Olympia regulations. The artisanal meat company just launched Rosette d’Oregon, the first salami with a single origin from Beaver State. It is one they hope can help raise awareness of “regenerative farming solutions.”
First a little about the taste of this meat, itself. Starting with a base of grass-fed pork from their network of small family farms, the hardened protein is infused with Pinot Noir from Oregon’s famous Willamette Valley region as well as coastal salt from local artisan darling, Jacobsen Salt Co.. It combines salts and salts with a neat tan-like tinge from the red wine.
Olympia exclusively sources from farms certified through the Global Animal Partnership. The nonprofit organization promotes sustainability and welfare by assessing suppliers along a range of relevant metrics. The use of completely grass-driven products is a relative rarity in the world of American pork, where 98% of what comes on the market is farmed in the factory. You can go and look for this game-changing charcuterie on shelves, starting at around $ 17. And yes – it fits a fine Willamette Pinot perfectly.
In an exclusive interview with Forbes, Olympia Provisions co-founder Elijah Cairo, corrects some added details below. Portland natives open up about their relationship with farmers and how living in the Northwest Pacific has helped shape those relationships.
How has your business evolved over the last decade?
We started as Oregon’s first USDA-approved charcuterie facility in 2009, a one-person store with a 900-square-foot facility and a small restaurant [in Portland]. The big ambitions were to support our restaurants, showcase our salami at farmers markets and bring highly crafted salami to the good people of Portland.
When did you start to feel like you were getting traction?
We started winning some Good Food Awards, customers started reaching out, major publications started writing about us. Fast forward to now, we are distributed nationwide with an online store that ships directly. We employ 200 people and to Japan, Canada and Puerto Rico. We now operate 4 restaurants and our factory has grown to 50,000 square meters. That said, we have not left the central east side of Portland and we continue to produce the highest quality meat.
What was your inspiration for Rosette D’Oregon?
I have always been super inspired by salamis from the old world – and I have always kept it Praised by Lyon as the top of the salami that represents a place. When I think of Lyon, I think of that salami. I’ve always wanted to produce a salami that represented a sense of Oregon – this is my best attempt to showcase our state. When I think of Oregon, I think of the sea salt from the ocean, the wine from the valley, the juniper from the desert. It’s all subtle, but everything’s there.
Talk about the importance of procurement.
It was super important to me to get a small family of farmed, grass-fed pigs to represent the pork from this salami. I truly believe that’s what makes Oregon so great — our small family farms that are environmentally conscious, grow, and grow the best food in our state.
What is the Olympia Provisions Farmers Network?
It’s something we hope will be a model that other charcuterie manufacturers will adopt across America to support small family businesses that do it the right way. By buying whole animals and utilizing all the animal pieces, this allows the farmers to price their animals according to the cost it takes to breed them properly. When we take full responsibility for the animal, it allows them to take the sale and invest it back into their operation to improve their farming and livestock practices. If we really want to see grasslands with pork and small farmers in America thrive, we need to invest in these farmers to ensure that they can financially make this work for themselves and their families. Raising animals on pastures requires a lot of work. Our role is to highlight the enormous efforts and encourage the people who love to eat meat to continue to demand that level of transparency.
What is the ultimate goal of maintaining such a network?
My goal is to show a model for it to work: you can take responsibility for the whole animal, create meat of the highest quality in America and at the same time have a positive impact on our environment and society. And it depends on building this network of farmers that can help spread the message. It is very easy to be idealistic about grass-fed pork, but it is extremely difficult to make this a profitable endeavor for all parties involved. There’s a reason pigs in this country grow up the way they are – in confinement, [because it’s more profitable]. But there is a lot of inertia to turn it around. We need to be focused and uncompromising to get to our goals. And it can not just be us.