Lady Edison Ham

lady edison

lady edisonLady Edison extra fancy sliced country ham

One of the great things about traveling to Portugal and Spain is the opportunity to taste the great Iberico pork that they have there.   From a specific breed, raised on a diet of mostly Cork oak acorns, this is some of the finest pork in the world – complex, sweet, nutty, with a finish that rivals some red wines!!

I’ve also wondered why we Americans haven’t produced artisanal hams with the quality of Italy’s Prosciutto, Iberia’s Jamon, or France’s Bayonne.   Enter Lady Edison, a relatively new producer from the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.  

The rich slices are intensely buttery and salty, with a robust flavor that’s more savory than its delicate European counterparts, and a firm, supple texture that makes it perfect for sandwiches and snack plates. Try this deluxe ham on a roll with a smear of mustard and a few bread and butter pickle chips for a gourmet lunch.

Lady Edison sources whole hogs exclusively from the North Carolina Natural Hog Growers Association, made up of 19 farmers, all of whom are third-party Animal Welfare Approved and certified non-GMO. The oldest farmers in the organization are in their early 80s and many have been farming all their lives. These small family farms promote traditional, sustainable farming practices and a food system that values and respects the whole animal. Lady Edison hogs are a heritage cross of Berkshire, Chester White, and Duroc and are 100% pasture-raised, without hog houses or gestation crates, as some old-timers say “on the ground” in their natural habitat. 

Lady Edison Extra Fancy Country Ham is dry-cured, unsmoked, and long-aged, following the old traditions of North Carolina country hams, first cured in rooms that mimic the natural seasons for at least two years. 

The first step is the Winter Room, where hams are salted and stacked in a 34-degree low-humidity room for about 10 days. After some of the moisture seeps off, the hams are resalted and restacked and cured for an additional 25 days and the hams take on a more dense consistency.   This length of ambient aging is unique to Lady Edison’s Extra Fancy Country Hams and allows every ham to develop the rich flavors, aroma, textures, and color that can only occur with aging in a less controlled environment. Like with aged cheese; temperature, humidity, and time impact each ham differently throughout the process.  Each Lady Edison Extra Fancy Country ham is aged at least two years, many for even longer.

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