I’m not sure how many consumers even know what the word “uncured” means when they see it on processed meat packages, like deli meats, hot dogs, ham and bacon. I am also not sure where there is an “official” government definition, but I personally take it to mean free of the preservatives generally found in such products, like sodium nitrites and nitrates.
Often, in my reading, I have seen references to these types of meats being ‘cured’ by celery juice or celery juice powder, substances which contain nitrates naturally. Uncured meats must be kept refrigerated or they will spoil.
Applegate Farms makes a living selling uncured, natural, and organic meat products from a variety of protein sources. They say they source their meat from sources that raise animals humanely and do not use antibiotics.
In addition to the products mentioned in the first sentence, Applegate Farms also markets poultry products, including chicken sausages and turkey “burgers.” They are based in New Jersey and have been around 25 years or so. On the packaging, their UPC code is also used as a “barn code” and tells you where the meat was sourced. In the case of my purchase, Uncured Genoa Salami,” apparently the pork came from farms in South Dakota, Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa, Ontario and Quebec.
The label says the pork was raised on “sustainable family farms in a stress-free environment that promotes natural behavior and socialization.” Another thing I have no idea what it means, other than perhaps the piggies are allowed to socialize on Facebook prior being driven off to the kill zone.
After the piggies socialized, they went on a (albeit brief) vacation to California, where (according to the USDA establishment number) they were manufactured into salami by Busseto Foods in Fresno, CA, decidedly a giant among pork producers. In fact, their Genoa salami looks very similar to Applegate’s.
I’m one of those consumers that doesn’t really care if animals we’re going to kill are ‘raised humanely,” as it seems like a contradiction anyway. At my age, I also don’t care about whether or not I ingest preservatives, maybe more of them will actually keep me on the planet a little longer.
What I care about, particularly with salami, is appearance, taste, texture and value. Applegate meets the first three of those categories excellent, but at near $20 a pound, value isn’t at the top of their game. But then, all meat is expensive now. Seems to me like it dramatically shoots up weekly.
Bottom line, would I buy Applegate salami again? Yep. It’s tasty, no matter how the piggies were raised or what they ‘et’ prior to my chowing down on them.
Postscript: By coincidence, the following day I spotted Busseto’s product in another store, at the equivalent of $10 a pound. Not organic, not uncured, but are those designators worth twice the price? Not to me.
Applegate Naturals Uncured Genoa Salami