Niman Ranch pork is different; it truly is something else. I’ve cooked with it now several times, from shoulder to belly to loin. It’s not only that Niman Ranch pork has true pork flavor, it’s that that flavor is so richly deep that it shocks.
This past weekend I was fortunate to be presented with an opportunity to visit a hog farm in Iowa that uses the Niman Ranch methods I also got to attend the yearly Hog Farmer Awards dinner and ceremony. I was eager to see the practices being put into play and, quite honestly, to see if the hype was real or if it’s all just a great story.
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By Bill St. John
On the Fourth of July, Independence Day, our national birthday, all of us once, not so long ago, watched a parade, saluted the flag, oohed-and-ahhed at works on fire in the sky. But all of us don’t do all of that altogether anymore. Yet one thing that we used all to do, we still do, every one of us (for the great majority).
BY BILL ST JOHN
The Italians call it dining “al fresco.” For the French, it's “en plein air.” To us, it's keeping the flies away from the chicken salad. But little else means summer in Colorado than eating outdoors and planning a picnic underneath Old Sol.
Picnic prep differs from dining room prep, though, so here are some food and cooking tips on how to make it in the morning, serve it in the evening, and still keep its smile on.
by Pete Marczyk
We just got some very sad news: Gary Giambrocco passed away earlier this morning. Gary was an icon in the food business in Denver — he and his family have been quietly supplying markets, restaurants, and institutions with produce, dry goods, and staples for over a hundred years. He was legitimately the nicest guy we have worked with over the past 16 years, and I will miss him greatly.
Gary never took time off; his warehouse was only open while he was there. He was the first to arrive, and the last to leave. Kids use "O.G." and "Old School" to describe iconoclasts; Gary was O.G.O.G. and he was O.G.Old School. Every day, he went through his Rolodex (he still used one) start to finish — calling each customer on the phone, and the rap was always the same, regardless of who picked up the phone: “Hey, babe…how ya doin’? just checking in to see if there’s anything you need for tomorrow…” Every day. If the answer was no, he always went on to add, "No problem, babe…we’re here if you need us — just give a call and let us know and we’ll take care of you…” And he always did.
Early in our days, when I wasn’t sure if I could make the business work and I was behind with vendors, Gary gave me a pep-talk. He told me tough times don’t last, but tough bastards like us do. He made me think I was like HIM — what a huge compliment! Gary always worked with us, providing guidance, logistics support, sourcing products. Helping us to cut out “the bastards,” he would warehouse overstock and provide turkey storage for two important weeks of the year — always working with us. If you went to visit, you would leave with a bag of fruit "for the kids." Gary made everything sound easy — it was just his way. He would tell me about “having never worked a day in his life” even though he worked EVERY day of his life.
Maya Angelou said: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Gary leaves behind generations of an entire industry of people whom he made feel great and special every time he said, “Hey, Babe!”
Marczyk’s will miss Gary Giambrocco tremendously. Our sympathy, thoughts, condolences and prayers are with his family.