Herb and Kathy Eckhouse
Iowa is a pork-loving state, producing nearly a third of all the pigs in the country. And if you don’t think pork is at its most glorious when cured and sliced paper-thin, you haven’t tried acorn-fed prosciutto from La Quercia, a purveyor of cured meats.
Why we chose this prosciutto:
Unfortunately, the vast majority of Iowa pigs are raised on factory farms, which produce huge amounts of ground- and water-contaminating waste. “These pigs are our neighbors,” says Herb Eckhouse. “So we experience the adverse consequences of these [factory farming] practices more directly.” La Quercia makes traditional Italian salumi, but using pork from small-scale farms in Iowa and Missouri where the pigs receive no non-therapeutic antibiotics or hormones and are fed a strict vegetarian diet.
What Americans can learn from Italian eaters:
During his years living in Italy, Herb learned more than how to slice the perfect coppa. “In Italy, meat consumption was relatively limited,” he says. “You’d eat cured meat, but that’s just an ounce or two, as opposed to an eight-ounce hamburger. In the United States, we tend to be more oriented toward quantity over quality.”
More stories in this series:
There’s someone in every state in the nation who’s breaking the status quo when it comes to food. Meet them all in our interactive map.
How this Birmingham BBQ joint is building a better food system
How this Juneau wholesaler is building a better food system.
How this Fayetteville organization is building a better food system.
Get Grist in your inbox