How long will your products last?
Our Meat Sticks, Summer Sausage and Smoked Pepperoni are shelf stable for 9 months and do not need to be refrigerated. If opened, they should be wrapped tightly, stored in the refrigerator and consumed within 1 week.
Our Bacon, Ham, Hot Dogs and Sausages do need to be refrigerated and are good for 56 days from the production date.
Hot Dogs, Sausage and Bacon can be frozen and will be good for up to 90 days, but we do not recommend freezing the Ham.
Each of our products is stamped with a Best Used By date, either directly on the film or on a white sticker.
Where do you get the meat from?
We engage in creating demand for better meats with all levels of meat producers. Here in Vermont, we help small producers directly access local markets by turning their meats into delicious sticks, sausages, bacon and other items.
Regionally across the northeast, we work directly with small family farms raising their livestock primarily on pasture and selling into the regional wholesale market. Nationally, we only buy “natural” meats – that is, raised without antibiotics or added hormones, and vegetarian fed.
By partnering with our customers to create more demand for these meats, we influence the farmersand the big meat companies to grow and supply meats that are superior for the livestock, farmers and landscape.
Our preferred beef provider is Pineland Farms in Maine, which sources within the northeast primarily. When they don’t have enough for us, additional beef comes from other natural providers in the Midwest including Meyer.
Pork is from DuBreton in Quebec or Coleman in Colorado.
Turkey is from preferred providers Plainville Farms.
I am concerned about allergens. What common allergens are present in your products and facility?
Our entire facility and all of our products are free from the following:
- Tree Nuts
Vermont Smoke & Cure™ utilizes a controlled system to manage allergens to prevent potential cross-contamination. This allergen control program is part of our food safety system, which is audited annually by a 3rd party certifier for SQF, an approved Global Food Safety Initiative code.
Our allergy control program depends upon segregation of allergen ingredients, products and processes from non-allergen or other allergen containing products, with verified cleaning procedures between lots in equipment and facilities.
Do your products contain GMOs?
All of the ingredients in all Vermont Smoke & Cure™ products are GMO free.
The livestock that produce the meat were most likely fed grains and soy raised from GMO seeds.
Do your products contain nitrates?
All of our products have no nitrates or nitrites added, except for nitrates naturally occurring in celery juice powder and sea salt. We previously sold versions of our ham, bacon, summer sausage, and pepperoni that contained sodium nitrite, but discontinued all of them in the spring 2016.
What is the difference between cured and uncured?
The “uncured” designation is required by the USDA – but it isn’t entirely accurate. The nitrate sources are celery juice and sea salt rather than sodium nitrite – the same result is reached and the flavor is nearly identical. We agree with those who advocate for calling use of these natural ingredients “naturally cured.”
We carefully formulate our products to use the low end of the range of recommended nitrite and nitrate amounts to prevent botulism and listeria.
What is the source of the casing for your products?
All of our Sticks have a collagen casings that is made from the inner layer of beef hide.
Our Bacon Hot Dogs use a natural lamb casing. Our Pork Sausages use a natural pork casing.
The dark outer casing on our Summer Sausage is a collagen casing that is to be removed before consuming, but it will not cause any harm if accidentally ingested.
What is Lactic Acid Starter Culture that is listed on the ingredients for your sticks?
Lactic Acid Starter Culture is a specific strain of bacteria that eats sugar and produces lactic acid, similar to the yeast you put into bread, wine or beer. When crafting our Sticks and Summer Sausage, the recipe includes sugar to feed the starter culture. The starter culture consumes the sugar and makes lactic acid (instead of CO2 for bread or alcohol for beer, wine or hard spirits). The lactic acid lowers the pH and so helps naturally preserve the Sticks or Summer Sausage and gives them a bit of a tangy flavor. The result also is that the bacteria consume almost all of the sugar, leaving 0-1 grams per Stick. The “lactic” name makes it sound like they come from milk, but there is no relation.
Why is sugar on the ingredients list for some products that contain 0g of sugar?
Each of our meat sticks contain 0 to 1 gram of sugar when the production process is complete.
Sugar plays an important role in fermenting our meat sticks and summer sausage, however. During the fermentation process, sugar is consumed by a specific type of culture (bacteria), this bacteria converts the sugar into lactic acid, which lowers the acidity (pH) of the meat stick. To stop the fermentation, we either chill or cook the product. Nutrition fact testing shows that the lactic acid starter culture bacteria consume essentially all of the sugar during this process for our summer sausage, smoked pepperoni and meat sticks.
Combined with cooking, drying, chilling quickly, and vacuum packaging, reducing the pH through the use of sugar and lactic acid starter culture helps naturally preserve our summer sausage, smoked pepperoni and meat sticks.
Are all of your products smoked?
We never use any liquid smoke or artificial smoke flavor.
We smoke using natural, traditional smoke sources, wood shavings or corn cob bits to generate smoke. A smoke generator sitting next to the smokehouse maintains glowing embers that generate the smoke. A carefully maintained draft then sucks the smoke into the smokehouse.
Our Bacon, Ham and Smoked Pepperoni are smoked using a blend of ground corn cobs and maple wood. This creates a sweet mellow smoke and nice balance of flavors – you can taste the smoke, maple, salt & meat.
Our Sticks, Summer Sausage and Pork Sausages are cooked, but not smoked.
How do I cook the ham?
All of our hams are fully cooked, but we recommend warming them up to bring out their full flavor. To do so, follow the steps below:
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
- Remove ham from packaging and wrap in aluminum foil to retain moisture.
- Place wrapped ham in roasting pan in the center of the oven.
- Warm ham for approximately 10 minutes per pound or until warmed through.
- Check ham after 6 minutes per lb. and again after 8 minutes per lb. to ensure that it does not become dry.
- Carve and enjoy!
Can I pick up my order so I don’t have to pay for shipping?
Unfortunately, unless you are a wholesale customer or distributor you cannot pick up your order. We agreed to stipulations by the Planning & Zoning board of the Town of Hinesburg that we not function as a retail location.
You’ll need to visit one of our retailer customers, or to order shelf stable items from our web site. (Hint – ask your local store to carry us!)
For items that require refrigeration (hams, bacon, sausages), we have stopped shipping and encourage you to visit the Shelburne Farms web site (http://store.shelburnefarms.org/category/meats) They carry our bacon, hams and sausages.
Do you ship internationally?
We only ship within the United States.
Can I come for a tour?
We are not set up for public tours. We do have at least one public open house yearly, though. Please stay tuned to our web site and social media. Also, we’ll continue adding to our web site video showing how we smoke and cure here in Hinesburg!
Can you donate product to support my organization/cause/event?
We love supporting our community and the wonderful people that make is so vibrant! Drop us a line here and we will be happy to review your request.
I want to sell your products in my store or serve them in my restaurant. How can we make this happen?
We primarily sell through distributors and will be happy to put you in contact with the appropriate distributor. If you aren’t served by one of our distributor partners, we’d be happy to ship to you directly. Just drop us a line here and we will be in touch with details.
Is there a phone # I can call to order?
Feel free to give us a call anytime Monday-Friday 8:30am-4:30pm EST at 802-482-4666 and we’d be happy to take your order.
Can you send me coupons?
Can you explain Certified Humane?
Certified Humane is the designation of Humane Farm Animal Care. We attempt to buy as much Certified Humane meat as we can. A significant percentage of the bacon we make is Certified Humane.
The Certified Humane Raised and Handled® label assures consumers:
- That the producer meets our standards and applies them to animals from birth through slaughter.
- Animals have ample space, shelter and gentle handling to limit stress.
- Ample fresh water and a healthy diet of quality feed, without added antibiotics or hormones.
- Cages, crates and tie stalls are among the forbidden practices, and animals must be free to do what comes naturally. For example, chickens are able to flap their wings and dust bathe, and pigs have the space to move around and root.
- Producers must comply with food safety and environmental regulations. Processors must comply with the American Meat Institute Standards (AMI), a higher standard for slaughtering farm animals than the federal Humane Slaughter Act.
More information can be found here: http://certifiedhumane.org/.