This winter, we found out that our best-selling bacon, Vande Rose Farms Applewood Smoked, was made of pork from hogs raised in confinement. We have our friends at Food Democracy Now to thank for tipping us off to Vande Rose’s use of confined housing for their sows, which led to our decision to stop selling the product. Because of the stand we’ve taken to avoiding selling meat from animals raised in confinement, we had no choice but to take Vande Rose bacon off our shelves .
We replaced it with Benton’s, which was easy to do given how delicious Benton’s is (when we had a blind bacon taste test at 18 Reasons last year, it was a top pick). Allen Benton (who our friend Ari Weinzweig in his book Zingerman’s Guide to Better Bacon refers to as “seriously one of the nicest people I’ve ever met, in the food world or out”) makes this super smoky bacon in Eastern Tennessee. Smoke, salt and sweet all come through, and the pork bellies come from sustainably raised Berkshire hogs.
Nothing is black and white in the meat world. The more we learn, the harder it gets to do business.. The nuances of where animals are housed, what they’re allowed to eat, and how they are processed aren’t easy to put into buckets, so we do our best to evaluate each on a case by case basis to make the best decision possible. Even though these decisions might not be the best for business, we still take a stance, voting with our dollars, with the hopes of improving food production in our country.