A KosherEye Chat with Naftali Hanau

                               photo: Beantown Jewish Gardens

We continue our conversation with Naftali Hanau, founder and CEO of Grow and Behold Kosher Pastured Meats.

What makes pastured meat different?
You can taste the difference in meat that was raised on grass. The animal literally got the chance to be an animal: chickens scratching at dirt, eating bugs and grass; cows ambling over green fields, munching away on clover, bluestem and other forage grasses. The meat will have more flavor because the animal ate a range of different natural foods, and because it had a chance to move around and develop its muscles.

Our animals are never fed growth hormones or synthetic feeds. They are treated with antibiotics only when they are sick, not as a routine part of their diet as is common on large feedlot operations. Their natural diet of pasture, hay and grains means that you don't have to wonder about what you're putting in your body.

What distinguishes Grow and Behold Meat and Poultry from other purveyors?
Taste, quality, and production methods. All of our products are sustainably produced on small family farms from animals that spend the majority of their lives outdoors on pasture. We take great care to ensure that animals are treated properly and humanely through every step of the process, including transportation and slaughter practices. Our products are produced in small batches to ensure that we are able to uphold the highest standards. We believe in transparency, and our standards are available on our website for anyone to see. This is why our products distinguish themselves in the taste and quality categories, there is no kosher meat on the market that tastes as good as ours.

Why and how did you choose a meat career path?
My wife and I were originally planning to grow organic vegetables and we actually spent years working on small, organic farms. During that time, as a kosher keeping carnivore, I was increasingly frustrated in the lack of quality, pasture raised, kosher meat. In effort to solve my own supply problems, I learned poultry shechitah to provide meat for my family and immediate community. That process, and my wonderful rebbeim who drove me to continue my studies in nikkur (deveining/ritual butchering) and large animal slaughter took me to slaughterhouses and butcher shops all over the country.

As my studies continued I learned both that producing meat on a very , very small scale (on farm) is just not practical (trust me, I had to shecht 3 chickens each week for the first year after I received my license to shecht) AND that I actually had a very good understanding of how one turns a live animal into a kosher piece of meat. During that time Anna and I turned our focus slowly from vegetable farming to meat production. We founded Grow and Behold in the summer of 2010 with the launch of Sara's Spring Chicken, our exclusive brand of Pastured poultry. The rest is history.

What's in the Grow & Behold pipeline that you would like to share with our readers?
We just launched a line of Beef Bacon and Beef Bacon Cubes that have been a real hit. We're hoping to follow up on this success with some other value added products like deli meats. We are also hard at work finding a source for lamb that meets our standards. But what we try to emphasize internally is a laser-focus on maintaining the highest level of customer satisfaction; we want to give our customers a flawless experience every time they eat with Grow and Behold.

Would you share two of your families "go to" meat meal recipes?
Our "go to" meat meal when we are really in a rush is sausage with peppers and onions. We will sauté onions and peppers until soft, then add our chopped up sausages. It doesn't take a lot of meat to get a lot of flavor, and it makes an affordable and a quick meal. Serve it over rice or on crusty bread. Our ground beef is so good that we don't make a hamburger "recipe". Just form our ground beef into patties and cook to your taste.  And, one of our favorites, Grilled Beef Cigars.

January 16, 2012

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