Inspired by the regional cured hams of Europe, Tails & Trotters is the Pacific Northwest’s first signature pork producer developed from pork finished on local hazelnuts. Tails & Trotters pork is mirrored after the famed Jamon Iberico from Spain; crafted from the Pata Negra, or black-footed Iberian pigs who roam the oak groves of south and southwest Spain feasting on acorns. Using the resources of this region, co-owner and founder Aaron Silverman substituted hazelnuts for acorns and the result was the development of a distinctive variety of Pacific Northwest prosciutto.
Studies have determined that pigs fattened on nuts produce meat with a higher percentage of healthy fats like scarce amino acids and unsaturated fats. The hazelnuts also increase flavor in both the fat and meat while producing the necessary intramuscular and subcutaneous (under the skin) fat cover necessary for prosciutto production—the main long-term objective for Tails & Trotters.
Tails & Trotters partners with Pure Country Pork in Ephrata, Washington, a second-generation family farm whose larger clients include Puget Consumer Coop and New Seasons. Pure Country Pork operates on a production system certified by the Food Alliance for sustainable practices and has third-party verification for non-GMO feeds. The pigs owned by Tails & Trotters begin in the same Food Alliance certified program as the pigs designated for New Seasons and Puget Consumer Coop. Before reaching market size, the Tails & Trotters pigs are moved into a separate house and finished on hazelnuts sourced from family packer George Packing Co, in Newberg, Oregon. Aaron developed this finishing system himself on his farm just outside of Eugene, Oregon.
Tails & Trotters pork can be found in stores and restaurants nationwide. Their flagship store, located in Northeast Portland provides customers with everything from holiday hams to sweet Italian sausage and even ground pork for the home cook. Come in and see the prosciuttos hanging as they age to perfection, just as they do in neighborhood butcher shops in Europe.
After all, it’s really about the pigs….
The quality of life of our pigs is of paramount importance to the quality of all Tails & Trotters (T&T) products. We work closely with a family farm in Washington who produces our pigs. The farm is certified by the Food Alliance for meeting comprehensive standards for sustainable agricultural and business practices.
Our pigs are fed a diverse diet that is specifically formulated to their growth needs. Many of the grains are raised by our grower, and include wheat, barley, triticale, peas and flax. Corn and soybeans are never fed, and our grower has 3rd party verification that its feeds are GMO free by.
They are never administered antibiotics, hormones, growth stimulants, or animal byproducts in ANY form (pigs that become sick and require medication are removed from our program, treated and sold through conventional channels after the requisite waiting period).
It’s what makes Tails & Trotters pork so special! Traditionally, pigs produced for prosciutto are fed a special “finishing” diet for their last 60–90 days where a large portion of their feed is replaced with hazelnuts (aka filberts). Finishing provides increased flavor to the fat and meat, as well as produces the necessary intramuscular and subcutaneous (under the skin) fat cover necessary for prosciutto production—our main long-term objective.
While the Northwest isn’t good acorn country, it is renowned for its hazelnuts!
Processing is an unpleasant, but necessary step in producing quality meats. Our pigs are processed at a regional facility under USDA Inspection. We butcher and package T&T pork ourselves under USDA Inspection at our Portland facility.
It takes partnerships at every step for us to provide you the best nut-finished pork we can. We are truly a regional collaboration, and we are truly grateful all their hard work!