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New News on Old World Troy Meat

November 7, 2018

Sometime soon we need to talk more about meat production and sustainability. Because I believe it can play an integral and positive role in our food system and environment. But I know not everybody does.

However, I’m glad some people do, because they are pushing our food to be better. People like the Shukets. Months ago I met Jessica Shuket, and when she told me about what her family was doing, I got very excited.

The Shukets are the family behind Old World Provisions in Troy.

Let me put it another way. They are the family that makes the pastrami for Katz’s Deli. And it’s incredible. Sadly, they have closed their little sandwich shop at the production plant. But the good news is what they are doing to make their products even better.

Say hello to Old World Naturals.

While the Old World Provisions pastrami is world class, it’s still made from conventionally raised animals. Those of us who would prefer to eat beef from steers that spend their whole life on grass and pasture, have had to put that desire aside to enjoy a taste. And I’ve gladly done that.

Now, there is a new line of products that they are calling “all-natural craft deli”. It’s hard to create a name that captures everything the company is doing, especially when the product
line includes beef, pork, and turkey. But here’s what they came up with:

Old World Naturals supports regenerative agriculture by sourcing meats that are raised on a grass or foraged-based diet for the entire life of the animal.

I bumped into some of the Old World Naturals pastrami at Whole Foods. They are also available behind the deli counter at Healthy Living Market up in Saratoga Springs. Recently, the company sent me a selection of their pre-sliced meat packages to try at home.

Here’s the deal. I’m not really a pre-sliced deli meat kind of guy. It’s not something I typically buy, so I have very little context for comparison. That said, I’ve tried four of the five packages, and wanted to share my thoughts.

Vacuum sealed packaging is a double edge sword.

Part of my loves it, because the lack of air in the package prevents spoilage and allows for a longer shelf life. That means I can stock up on corned beef and have a pack in the refrigerator, so when the desire for a reuben strikes I’m ready to go.

Part of me is less convinced since the pressure makes separating the slices from each other a challenge. But then again, I’m a little OCD, so you may not mind tearing up some of the slices. Much like I didn’t mind drying off the meat as some of its moisture is drawn out in the vacuum processing.

I also didn’t mind rewrapping the meat in a combination of parchment paper and plastic wrap to store the leftovers. Wrapping and rewrapping meats and cheeses gives me a strange but pleasant satisfaction. Have I mention my OCD lately?

My favorites of the packages, by the way, were the ham and the corned beef. Primarily because they really brought the flavors I seek in these meats. Below you can see from left to right my pictures of the ham, corned beef, pastrami, and roast beef.

There is more to Old World Naturals than just the sourcing of the meat. They are also cured without synthetic nitrates or nitrites, relying instead on those found in celery powder. But for the health conscious, these deli meats have also been made extra lean.

You probably won’t be surprised to hear this, but I don’t eat for health. And some meats I cherish precisely because of their fattiness. Pastrami is one of those. Fatty pastrami may be one of life’s greatest pleasures.

I had thought corned beef was too until I peeled open the pouch of Old World Naturals slow-cooked “uncured” corned beef, and I was hit by a wave of pure pleasure. The aroma of the brine, emerging for the package made me swoon just a little bit. Corned beef is all about the brine, and even with very little fat this was super flavorful.

The corned beef even inspired me to make a little hash with potatoes, onions, and poached eggs. Extra lean corned beef hash? With potatoes fried in olive oil? With meat from grass fed cows? This is love.

You may love the super tender, and beautifully pink, grass fed roast beef. And you might welcome a leaner version of pastrami into your life. The world is a big place, with lots of people who all have gloriously different tastes and preferences. They just weren’t for me.

Mostly, I’m thrilled to see a local family picking up the mantle of meat sustainability. Not only are they creating a market for producers who want to raise their animals of grass and pasture. But they are also helping to spread the word to consumers about how powerful this is to land management and food production.

And it’s all happening in Troy, New York.

Thanks also to Old World Naturals for all the samples. To come out of this experience loving a pre-sliced extra lean corned beef is almost unthinkable, but it’s true. And having a package of their ham around will also help with some quick weeknight dinners down the road. But more on those later.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Rhonda Rosenheck permalink
    November 8, 2018 12:58 am

    You do know what word their name is derived from, right? Shoichet.

  2. Dave permalink
    November 8, 2018 5:50 am

    What local stores are the deli meat sold?

  3. November 8, 2018 10:30 am

    Thanks Dan, picked me up some pastrami last night

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