A month ago, when we told you that Frank’s Chop Shop owner Mike Malbon was planning to sell a pulled-pork sandwich at the Hester Street Fair similar to the one at his family’s longstanding Virginia restaurant, he wasn’t sure where he was going to get his product. Then Patrick Martins of Heritage Foods came to the rescue. Martins tells us that when he heard Malbon was planning to use “regular old pork,” he insisted he opt instead for pasture-raised, antibiotic-free meat, and he was so adamant about it that he’s now shipping 60 pounds of Berkshire Boston butts per week, from farms in Virginia, New York, and Missouri. For free! So why exactly would Heritage hook up a humble start-up with free product, all summer long?
“Anytime you hear about someone who has multigenerational cooking traditions, it’s really cool,” Martins tells us. “I love the role they play in the community with the Chop Shop. And I love the idea of outdoor public markets.” Of course, Heritage also has a selfish reason: Martins, who supplies meat to Fatty ‘Cue and RUB, wants to spread the word among barbecue aficionados. “I want to get barbecue guys to buy sustainable foods and not Smithfield,” says Martins. “You see great pork being eaten at Mario Batali’s places, but you don’t see it on the barbecue circuit.” Martins has yet to try the Malbon Bros. sandwich, though he’s sampled the sauce that will go on it. You’ll get your first bite when the Hester Street Fair launches this Saturday.
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