Herb and Kathy Eckhouse
La Quercia
Norwalk, Iowa

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.

Reader support helps sustain our work. Donate today to keep our climate news free. All donations DOUBLED!

ia_postWhy we chose this prosciutto:

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

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.”

Check out the full map.

Click to check out the full map.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.