Jeremy, one of our national meat buyers, has worked for Whole Foods Market since 2007 and brought with him not only a range of past experience but his enthusiasm for helping to create and maintain a meat program that is held to the highest standards from farm to fork. Have you ever tasted an authentic Italian salami? You know, the ones that you see hanging in the window of an old-fashioned meat shop, encased in that strange but enticing white substance. My first salami experience came straight from the basement of a house belonging to an experienced butcher I used to work with. He always had some dried meats hanging from the basement ceiling with butcher string. They were as bold flavored and well textured as any meat that I have ever tried. Simply peel back the casing and step back in time to a traditional preservation method that heightens a freshly ground and flavored pork mixture to the sophisticated level of a finely aged cheese (which should definitely be on the same plate when indulging!). Many years and bottles of wine have passed since I’ve enjoyed that flavor, but recently I tasted something so similar it deserves attention! Whole Foods Market has recently started working with Olli Salumeria Americana. The founder, Olliviero Colmignoli, moved from Italy to Virginia with the intention of producing high quality, authentic prosciutto and Salumi products that are 100% made in America, with all the authenticity of the best Italian producers. He hit the mark, in my opinion, and if anyone has ever known a similar home craftsman like the one I mentioned above, then this product is worth a try for comparison. By the end of this year, Olli’s products will be available in all of our US regions. What makes this company even more special to me is the relationship we share, not only in providing high quality products to our customers, but in the sourcing of the meat that goes into these items. Whole Foods Market recently implemented Global Animal Partnership’s 5-Step™ Animal Welfare Rating Program aimed at bringing transparency to our animal raising standards and traceability of our animals back to birth. The buyers in our National Meat Purchasing Office work hand in hand with Olli’s team to supply them the 5-Step rated raw materials they need for their product. For example, Olli purchases whole hams from one of our organic pork suppliers — Becker Lane Organic Pork — to make his prosciutto. The traditional raising practices used at Jude Becker’s farm contribute to a tremendous flavor profile along with a fat structure that can be described as rich and creamy; Olli’s prosciutto shines after aging for two years at the perfect temperature and humidity in his plant. At the end of the day, Olli Salumeria not only sparks great memories for me but also provides Whole Foods Market with an exceptional product for our customers while supporting our commitment to animal welfare. Give it a try and tell us what you think of Olli’s salami or prosciutto!