In the past, our chef challengers have been asked to create an original three item menu for a panel of seven judges. We decided to spice things up this year by asking our chef challengers to create an original menu for a much bigger judging panel- our guests. Chefs have been given a theme and three specialty ingredients that must be incorporated into their menus.
The 2012 theme is “Hot Summer Nights,” and today we are going to share with you detailed information about one of the specialty ingredients you will get to enjoy on June 23, 2012 at the Sacramento Chef Challenge: Beeler’s HELUKA Method Duroc Pork courtesy of Preferred Meats.
The story behind Beeler’s pork…
The Beeler pork tradition started in 1846 when great-great Grandpa Fred Beeler immigrated from Germany to the gently rolling hills of Madison County, Iowa, where he began raising hogs. Grandpa Beeler’s agricultural endeavors found success when he loaded his provisions into a horse-drawn wagon and left Truro for Denver, Colorado. The trip took nearly six months, but was successful enough to warrant future trips. Six generations later, the Beeler family is still carrying-on the tradition of raising and marketing a pork that consumers love.
In Grandpa Beeler’s day, raising pork was much different than today’s methods. The younger generation, thinking they knew everything, tried to build a better mousetrap by incorporating technology into production methods. However, they finally realized Grandpa Beeler’s Old World method of raising pork was not so bad after all, and have come full circle utilizing some of today’s hi-tech methods with his Old World ways.
The combination of old and new traditions has resulted in the HELUKA® method for raising pork. Hidden away in the Loess Hills of Western Iowa is a very unique farm: the birthplace of HELUKA® pork, which embrace a new freewheeling life style for the pigs that live there.
The What and Why of Heluka…
The word Heluka is derived from the Native American language meaning “full of sun.” The pork is given that name because every pig on the Heluka farm is free to go outside at will and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine!
Heluka® farms are spacious, comfortable communities, with houses specifically designed to provide comfort and pleasure for the pigs. All of the pigs enjoy bedded areas, have free access to food and water courts, and are allowed lounge in the deep-bedded areas or bask in the sunshine at their leisure.
As with all Beeler pork, HELUKA® pork is natural, meaning Beeler pigs are raised without any antibiotics or growth promotants whatsoever, and are never fed animal by-products. Their diets consist of all vegetarian ingredients: corn, soybean meal, vitamins, and minerals.
A bit about Preferred Meats and AtMyTable.com…
Preferred Meats has been a supporter of the Sacramento Chef Challenge since its inception in 2002. Each year, they provide a fantastic product for our chefs to prepare, but this year they really stepped up the game by providing enough pork so that each of our guests get a taste!
Preferred Meats was founded with a single goal in mind – To provide the highest quality products available. To accomplish this, they have go to the growers and producers of the finest products and learn how the products are raised, handled, fed, and processed. With this knowledge in hand, Preferred Meats keeps in close contact and communications with customers to better understand their individual needs, and provide them with the best quality products and cuts. Their chefs are ready to answer your culinary questions anytime. This philosophy continues throughout our product line. We will work with you to achieve the best product for your needs.
Until recently, the passion and products of Preferred Meats were only available to chefs and restaurant owners, but now they have expanded their service to the public through AtMyTable.com, an online source for delicious sustainably farm raised meats. Many of the AtMyTable.com farmers use real artisan techniques to raise and produce their fine products, these are techniques that no factory farming operation can come close to even trying to use.
AtMyTable.com offers the very best charcuterie items, made with great care from many great US producers, especially from California where standards are very high. We tap into these manufacturers so you can get small quantities for your dishes, without leaving the comfort of your home.