Moody’s, aka New England Charcuterie

We are proud to partner with Joshua Smith’s New England Charcuterie.  Known well to most of you, his hand-made salume is outstanding and we are pleased to be adding his product to our curated line up of top-notch cured meats, smoked meats, salume and charcuterie.

About Josh

In their own words, “Joshua’s career began at Dean & DeLuca, where he apprenticed under French Master Chef Charles Semail, learning to balance the old with the new. After Dean & DeLuca, the Four Seasons hospitality group in Seattle and Boston hired Joshua to train new teams, write new menus, and launch new concepts for the brand.

The mission is simple: make the best charcuterie with the most advanced production technologies, while remaining true to culinary origins and techniques. Joshua has traveled throughout Europe, researching best practices; he has sourced custom-made machinery; and he has partnered with the best farms and growers – both locally and around the world – to ensure the highest quality product.

The results speak for themselves. With 1,000–2,000 lbs. of charcuterie produced each day, both small and large customers are provided with quality products through New England Charcuterie’s wholesale production and distribution:

When in season, New England Charcuterie processes 6–12 whole animals each week for local farmers, giving them added value by producing hot dogs, salami, etc., they can then sell to their own customers. By always separating each farmer’s order, they are guaranteed that the products they receive from New England Charcuterie use only their own animals.

Creating custom salami using unique products like Trillium Brewing Company’s beer and grapes from select Napa Valley wine producers is a perfect complement to the daily production at New England Charcuterie.”

Now Offering:

Finocchiona: a classic Tuscan sausage dating back to the middle ages, featuring fennel seed.  In Tuscany, where fennel is abundant, it is thought that it was a cheaper alternative to expensive and scarce black pepper.   Like many other ingredients that were used before modern refrigeration, fennel was appreciated for it’s strong flavor.  Key flavors: fennel, garlic, white wine.

Nduja: an Italianization of the French “andouille,” on which it is loosely based, nduja is a spreadable salami that includes off cuts, offal and a healthy dose of spicy Calabrian chiles.  Versatile as far as salami goes, thanks to it’s spreadable texture, this can go in a crock in the center of the table, or crisped up in the pan.

Hot Sopressata: with origins in southern Italy, this salami also gets it’s heat from Calabrian chiles.

Coppa: essentially a shortened version of “capicola,” this is a whole-muscle salume made from the shoulder.  The word comes from “capo” which means head, and “collo” which means neck.  This is a dry-cured pork shoulder that’s been cured with raw turbinado sugar, paprika, coriander and orange zest.

Lomo: cured pork loin, many versions made around the world.  This one includes black pepper, chili flake, paprika and lemon zest.

Bresaola: historically hailing from Lombardy, similar to coppa, but made from beef, this whole-muscle salume is made from beef eye round, and cured with juniper, coriander, thyme and rosemary.


By Diego Maldonado

Satsumas, Chicories, Heirloom Maine Carrots

Of Note-

The heirloom apples and squash are winding down and starting to give way to heirloom citrus from Rising C Ranch.  Beautiful root vegetables from Maine continue to be strong.  We have upgraded our eggs to an American Humane Certified free-range farm egg from upstate NY.  The farmer is Dwight Martin, and it’s a family farm that has their free-roaming flock of chickens on ample, rotated fields overlooking the finger lakes.  They are fed 100% non-gmo vegetarian feed, plus whatever they eat while pecking around outside.  The good life means good eggs for us: thick shells, orange yolks, nice tight whites and very good flavor.

If you haven’t checked out our new catalog lately, we’ve added a brand-new “Bin Ends” section, where you can get some very sharp pricing on some great items we are planning to discontinue in order to make room for new things.

County Line Harvest- Petaluma, Ca

Mixed Baby Chicories

Rising C Ranch- Reedley, CA

  • Buddha Hands
  • Finger Limes
  • Fresh Yuzu
  • Meyer Lemons
  • Satsuma Mandarins
  • Cara Cara Pink Navels

Eric Buisset- Rieux-en-Cambresis, FRance


Pedersen Farm- Seneca Castle, NY

Romanesco Cauliflower

Scott Farm Apples- Dummerston, VT

  • Winesap
  • Esopus Spitzenburg
  • Northern Spy
  • Roxbury Russet
  • Baldwin
  • Honeycrisp
  • Lady

Ward’s Farm- Sharon, MA

  • Long Island Cheese Pumpkins
  • Winter Luxury Pumpkins
  • Delicata Squash
  • Blue Hubbard
  • Uchiki Red Kuri

Fishbowl Farm- Bowdoinham, mE

Organic Mixed Rainbow Carrots

Crossroad Farm- Jonesport, ME

Organic Red Jerusalem Artichokes

Ripley Farm- Dover-Foxcroft, ME

  • Chantenay Carrots
  • Yellow Sun Carrots
  • Purple Dragon Carrots

Sugar Hill Farm- Columbia, ME

Maine Heirloom Cranberries

Equinox Farm- Sheffield, MA

Native Mesclun

Sparrow Arc Farm- Copake, NY

  • Watermelon Radish
  • Black Radish
  • Purple Bora King Radish

Green Sunshine Organic Farm- Hodgdon, ME

  • Russian Banana Fingerlings

Harmony Meadows Organic Farm- Smyrna Hills, ME

German Butterball Potatoes

also now in season

  • First of the Season Kumquats
  • Native Oyster Mushrooms
  • Oregon Chanterelles
  • Oregon Hedgehog Mushrooms
  • Oregon Matsutake
  • Oregon Hedgehogs
  • Red Watercress
  • Baby Brussels Sprouts
  • Baby Purple Brussels Sprouts
  • Macomber Turnips
  • Fresh American Chestnuts
  • Fuyu Persimmons
  • Hachiya Persimmons
  • Pomegranates
  • California Quince
By Diego Maldonado

Your Guide to Winter Citrus: Part Two

Citrus time.

 Many of us grew up in a world where tree-ripened fruit was no longer the norm, but a memory your grandparents had.  Supermarket fruit, which is typically rock-hard, underripe and grown for durability rather than flavor is unfortunately the bulk of what’s out there.  Thankfully, there are a few domestic growers that grow for flavor, rather than hardiness and ship-ability.  Rising C Ranch is one of them.  They grow heirloom varieties that they picked for both flavor and beauty.  They’ve learned how to work with these unique fruits, and purposefully leave them on the tree until they’re fully ripe.  Their soil-management and pruning practices give the fruit the best possible chance to develop the deepest possible flavor.  They’ve figured out how to time harvest and pack fruit so that it arrives both ripe and in top shape.  These guys are the best, and we are proud to carry their heirloom citrus varieties throughout the winter.

Rising C Ranch Citrus


Kishu Mandarins:  tiny, sweet & seedless, Kishu mandarins are an ancient Japanese varietal.  These mandarins, ranging from the size of a quarter to a half-dollar, are delicious and easy to peel.  You could almost serve them as-is: they’d make memorable and seasonally appropriate mignardises.  Also, if you just want a citrus that you don’t have to segment with a knife, this is it: while not shiny or glossy like a citrus suprême, they have the advantage of staying super-juicy and bursting when you crush them under your tongue, and there’s no waste.  Dry out the super-aromatic rind, or candy it.  A bowl of kishu mandarins on the table for brunch would not be a bad thing at all.


Buddha’s Hands:  No flesh, no seeds, so what do we do with it?  Give some to the bartender: it infuses beautifully into spirits, and would make a cool winter citron limoncello.  Or keep one on the bar to use instead for cocktail zest and let it spark conversation.  Candy it: unlike almost every other citrus, the pith of this one isn’t nearly as bitter, which makes it easy to candy or turn into marmalade–a lot less work than oranges, and twice as fragrant–David Lebovitz has an excellent breakdown of it here, (and it includes some really good tricks, too.)  Candy now, then make some panettone bread later.   And if you order some and they don’t all get used up, bring one home: their fragrance is incredible, and folks in ancient China would wash their clothes with them.  Spruce that greasy apron right up.


Cara Cara Pink Navel Oranges: yep, it’s a pink orange.  The pigment that makes it pink is lycopene, which is a carotenoid that is found in red carrots, tomatoes, watermelons and papayas–and the meaty depth you get from this super juicy orange is somewhat reminiscent of papaya’s rich flesh.  These are the number one fruit the staff is eating right now.  Their beauty is almost besides the point–these far surpass commercial navels in flavor, depth, juiciness, sweetness and overall balance.

Finger Limes: I can feel the word caviar, in quotes, coming on. These little beads of citrus really pop, and taste like a cross between lime and grapefruit blossom. Finger limes originated Australia, and the Aussies therefore have a few ideas about what to do with them.  While trying to find any dish that didn’t suggest using them on raw fish, or desserts (which are great uses) or martinis (really?), we found some Aussie websites with some very cool-sounding dishes like garlic & chilli prawns with pepperberry & saltbush, and sashimi of kingfish with quandong and finger limes.  Groovy.

Satsuma Mandarins: known also as the “honey citrus of Wenzhou,”  “Christmas orange” in Britain because it was often enjoyed as a holiday treat around that time, and “Satsuma” to us, because they were first exported to Florida from the Satsuma Province in Japan in 1876.  They are noted for their loose skin, easy peeling, mostly seedless nature as well as their sweet honeyed flavor and tenderness.  Besides eating out of hand, they pair well with rum: Cochon does a satsuma mojito, Ottolenghi does an almond flour and satsuma cake soaked in almond syrup, and they lend themselves to candying whole, if you’ve got the patience.  Don’t forget to save the peels and dry them out, for fragrant dried citrus peel throughout the winter, or housemade chai.

Fresh Yuzu: this crazy citrus is a cross between a super cold-hardy variety of citrus called Ichang Papeda and a sour mandarin.  The first one is a thick-skinned, fragrant ornamental variety, used largely for fragrance (rather than culinary) uses, is almost all seed and pith, and is hardy enough to survive a frost.  The second variety brings the sour juice and bright orange-lemon flavors to the party.  This hard-to-find winter citrus is one of the first to come and first to go during winter citrus season, so get it now.  Many of the best uses involve preserving it anyway:  yuzu kosho, yuzu marmalade (used to make Korean yujacha), or capture the moment and make a fresh, legit, non-soy based ponzu.  Show this one to the barkeep:  yuzu maple leaf.  And please, tell us what we missed.  Apparently, yuzu and matsutake are considered a classic Japanese pairing: they grow in the same season, are both incredibly aromatic, but used how?  Kick some knowledge and we’ll add it to the post.  Guest chefs welcome.


By Diego Maldonado

The Fifth Taste

Wikipedia lists at least 58 distinct umami enhancers.  We’ve got at least half of them on hand, and a line on the rest.  If you’re looking for the cliff notes on how to boost flavor in any situation, look no further.

Red Boat Products

Not all fish sauce is created equal.  The folks at Red Boat wanted to make a high-quality fish sauce, so they set about finding the best anchovy for the job–ca com, or the black anchovy, wild-caught off of the island of Phu Quoc, Vietnam.  They pack them with sea salt, within a day of catching them, and age them in the traditional way: slow fermentation in mango wood barrels, for a year.  The fish is pressed, the liquid is drawn off, and the fish sauce is ready to bottle.  The 40 N on the label indicates the amount of nitrogen per liter of fish sauce, and that indicates protein levels.  This is significant to Red Boat, because they believe the best fish sauces have a designation of 30N or higher.

BLiS is a collaboration between the folks at BLiS and Red Boat, offering a bourbon-barrel aged version of their fish sauce, in a 200ml bottle.  This sauce, more meant for finishing a dish or directly dressing raw fish, rather than mixed into a sauce, is a bit smoky, and has hints of bourbon-like sweetness, with vanilla, wood and orange peel undertones.  See also Colatura for other ideas on how you can use this higher-end, more concentrated and more complex fish sauce.

Red Boat’s latest offering–a very cool new product–is their fish salt.  These are the salt crystals that form on the bottom of the mango-wood barrels in which the fish sauce is aged.  Here, umami meets salt, and using this salt to season fish (directly, or via brine) is one natural use.  What are yours?  We’d love to know, so tag us on Twitter or on Instagram with your fish salt innovations.

We’re all made of fish sauce

Worcestshire SauceWorcestershire sauce, made in Britain since 1837, contains white vinegar ( in America–in Britain, it contains malt vinegar instead), molasses, sugar, salt, anchovies, tamarind, onion, garlic, and good ol’ “natural flavorings,” which likely include clove, lemon, pickles, and peppers. This fish sauce, brought to you by colonialism, has cousins all over the globe.

Here are a few:

Japanese worcestershire sauce, also known as tonkatsu sauce,  incorporates dried fruits such as apples and tomatoes.  Tonkatsu has a lot in common, then, with  A1, HP Sauce, Heinz 57, Branston, and the whole class of British “brown sauces.”  So next time you run out of tonkatsu, grab the HP.  See also “Joe Beef Gentlemen’s Sauce” mainly because it’s awesome.

You’ve probably heard of kecap manis, or Indonesian sweet soy sauce.  In Indonesia, they worcestershire call it “kecap ingriss,” meaning “English sauce.”  The Indonesian word “kecap” is where we get our word ketchup, which used to be a catch-all word referring to fermented sauces.

In fact, ketchup used to be made from almost anything but tomatoes–oysters, mussels, mushrooms, soy, and walnuts were a few popular bases.  The original meaning of “kecap” meant “the brine of pickled fish.”  The tomato didn’t become a popular ketchup ingredient until the 19th century, thanks in part to the Heinz company.  Old-school tomato ketchup used to be a thin liquid.  It’s current thickness is a result of more tomatoes (that’s what the “fancy” on the label refers to–higher tomato content) as well riper tomatoes that contain more pectin, and last but not least, xanthan gum–which is what allows the Heinz gang to get the exact thickness they want and seem to think is appealing.

Garum (see also, liquamen) was the fish sauce of ancient Greece and Rome. Today Colatura, made in the fishing village of Cetara, on the Amalfi coast, is made from fish packed with sea salt and fermented in chestnut wood barrels.  It is the modern version of garum that lives on in the cuisine of Southern Italy.  Check out BLiS bourbon-barrel aged fish sauce as an alternative, by way of Vietnam, by way of the American south, for a finishing fish sauce that’s a true original.

  • Anchovy: salted white, oil-packed brown, or oil-packed white boquerones
  • Bacon: Nueske, Niman Ranch
  • Beets: red, candy, gold, large and baby
  • Bottarga: salted, cured tuna roe for shaving
  • Capers: regular or wild salted
  • Douchi: aka fermented black beans–whole fermented soybeans before they are made into sauce.  Rustic, earthy, salty and briny, classically paired with clams or beef
  • Edamame, aka soybeans, frozen: in or out of shell
  • Fish Sauce: Red Boat, Blis Bourbon-Barrel Aged, 3 Crabs
  • Fish Salt: Red Boat, see above for details
  • Garlic, Black: peeled and unpeeled fermented garlic, which takes on a sweet quality not unlike roasted garlic, but with a lot more funk
  • Gochujang: Korean chili paste made from fermented soybeans, gochugaru (korean chili flake), glutinous rice, and salt this kicks the ass of sriracha in terms of adding more than just heat to something.
  • Guanciale, La Quercia
  • Ham, Dry-Cured: Redondo jamon serrano, Fermin Iberico ham, La Quercia prosciutto & speck
  • Lardo, La Quercia
  • Katsuobushi: dried, smoked and fermented bonito flakes, a key ingredient in dashi
  • Kimchi: korean fermented pickled vegetables
  • Kombu: a variety of dried seaweed, and a key ingredient in dashi
  • Miso: soybeans fermented with koji and either rice, barley or wheat, in paste form: red (aka), white (shiro), or yellow (awase, meaning “mixed” miso)
  • MSG: monosodium glutamate, in powder form, derived from corn
  • Mushrooms, Dried: esp shiitake, porcini, porcini powder
  • Mushrooms, Fresh: esp honshimeji, enoki, king oyster, shiitake
  • Nori: dried seaweed sheets to wrap sushi or toast and use as a condiment (such as furikake), to garnish ramen, etc.
  • Pancetta, La Quercia
  • Parmesan Reggiano (and other umami-rich hard cheeses…i.e;aged gouda pradera, vella dry jack, grana padano)
  • Roquefort (plus an extensive collection of local blues)
  • Sausage: Chinese, Fra Mani, Olympic
  • Scallops, Dried: one of the main components in XO sauce, the dried ham of the fish world
  • Shrimp, Dried: not only a feature of Asian cuisine~also found in Creole, African, Indian, Mexican and Brazilian dishes
  • Shrimp, Paste (also crab) the backbone of many, many Southeast Asian and Southern Chinese dishes, made from dried fermented shrimp and salt, pressed into a block
  • Soy Sauce: aged shoyu (artisanal), shiro (white), kikkoman, kecap manis, and many others
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Tomatoes: fresh, paste, roasted oil-packed,  San Marzano, Sundried
  • Worcestershire Sauce: see below
  • XO Sauce: regular and extra hot.  This dried seafood sauce, which originated in Hong Kong, is made from  dried scallop, dried shrimp, red chili, Jinhua ham, and garlic.

Not a sauce nor paste

driedmorel-cc-jeremykeithShiitakes, Porcinis, Morels, Black Trumpets, or a mix of them all are available by the pound.  Steeped in hot water and turned into a broth with a little miso, added to chicken or vegetable stock to enhance, powdered and rubbed into steaks, roasted chicken, scallops,or tossed into a braise–anywhere else you want to turn up the volume on savory. These should be a pantry staple.  Dried porcini powder is also available.

Parmesan cheese has one of the highest glutamate levels naturally occurring in any food.  Beyond all the cool things you can do with parmesan itself, the rind is an effective flavor enhancer, and a good candidate for tossing into tomato sauce, stocks, heck, y’all can even toss ’em into ramen broth. You can also grill the (non-waxy) rinds until they’re melty, and slather it on bread for a midnight chef snack.

Photos by Jeremy Keith and Peter Baron.
By Diego Maldonado

Killer Beans for every occasion

Everything Below is in 10 lb units, except where indicated.


  • Black Turtle
  • Calypso
  • Cannellini
  • Coco (500 g)
  • Corona (1 lb)
  • Cranberry, aka Borlotti
  • Eye-of-the-Goat
  • Flageolet
  • Garbanzo, a.k.a. Chickpeas
  • Garbanzo, Black
  • Jacob’s Cattle, a.k.a. Trout
  • Lima, Giant Peruvian
  • Marrow
  • Navy
  • Rice
  • Scarlet Runner
  • Tarbais (11 lb)


  • Black Beluga
  • Green French
  • Green Lentils, A.O.C., du Puy, FR (500 g)
  • Ivory, White
  • Red Chief


  • Cornmeal, Red Flint, Maine Organic (2 lb)
  • Cornmeal, White, Maine Organic (aka Jonnycake Meal) (5 lb)
  • Cornmeal, Yellow, Maine Organic (5 lb)
  • Cornmeal, “La Venezolana,” Precooked (1 lb)
  • Polenta, Coarse Yellow
  • Polenta, Fine Yellow
  • Polenta, Fine White


  • Amaranth
  • Barley, Pearl
  • Barley, Black
  • Buckwheat Groats
  • Couscous, Semolina
  • Couscous, Sardinian Toasted, aka Fregola
  • Couscous, Israeli (5 lb)
  • Couscous, “M’hamsa,” Hand-rolled Semolina (500 g)
  • Couscous, Spelt (500 g)
  • Couscous, Barley (500 g)
  • Farro, D.O.P., Abruzzo, IT
  • Flax Seed
  • Kasha
  • Millet
  • Quinoa, White, Red or Black
  • Teff
  • Wheatberries


  • Basmati (10 lb)
  • Black Chinese
  • Calasparra
  • Carnaroli
  • Jasmine (25 lb)
  • Purple Sticky
  • Red Himalayan
  • Sushi (15 lb)
  • Vialone Nano (11 lb)


  • Almond Meal (5 lb)
  • Bread, Whole Wheat, Organic, NY (2lb)
  • Buckwheat
  • Chestnut, Roasted (5 lb)
  • Chickpea
  • Rye, Organic, NY (2lb)
  • Semolina
  • Spelt, Organic, NY (2lb)

Knoll Farm Cardoons are here.

Some people cook them in a blanc, and some a la barigoule.  They could then move on to become the star of a gratin {perhaps with some La Quercia Speck, or Niman Jamon Royale}, part of a winter salad, drenched with bagna cauda, join an antipasto or charcuterie plate, spend some time with corona beans and octopus charred with piment d’espelette, or get cut into batons, battered in chickpea flour, and fried.  A great talking point at the table, this unusual member of the thistle family has an interesting history: as a form of vegetable (non-animal) rennet, used to make some unique and unusual cheeses that tend to be very runny.  Check out this article on thistle-based cheeses here.

2014-12-26 11.38.50What do you guys have downstairs that’s awesome right now?

Knoll Farm Rapini is now in.  This is like using just the leaves of the brocolli rabe, and the rapini Rick Knoll grows has an incredibly fresh and spicy flavor profile.  We’ve spotted it being used in everything from braised lamb garganelli with pecorino and chilis, to a rough pesto with fra mani salami on an Iggy’s ficelle.  What are you doing with it?  Tag us on instagram with a picture of your dish @specialtyfoodsboston.

Blood Oranges, Kumquats, Meyer Lemons, Pumellos and Cara Cara Pink Navel Oranges (pictured above) are all going strong.  More heirloom citrus varities coming soon~stay tuned

Last of the cranberries and quince are in the house for the season, so get your last batch of membrillo or jam made.

By Diego Maldonado

Cave at Newmarket: List of Cheese

One of our choices, early on as a company, was that we didn’t want ten different types of Parmesan in house.  We wanted to find just one cheese, that hit that perfect point where the cheese was special and anything lesser wouldn’t do, but was affordable enough that anything more specialized and expensive was better left to retail shops.  We wanted a Parm that was going to taste awesome on handmade pasta, but hold it’s own on a cheese plate, and we found one that we love, and 18-month aged Parmesan-Reggiano that is nutty and sharp with some nice crunchy tyrosine crystals.  Oh yeah.

So what about when you need a cheaper alternative?  Rather than also bringing in cheaper, lesser Parms that we weren’t pumped about, we picked some stylistically similar cheeses–like Grana Padano and Sarvecchio–that aren’t Parmesan AOC (and therefore don’t fetch the same price) but are excellent in their own right.  That way, we have things to offer, for every occasion and price point, that we stand behind and are excited to eat.  This philosophy extends to some other cheeses commonly used to cook with, like Gruyere, Comte, and Fontina. We decided that we’d rather have a great house style then to try and be all things to all people.

The other big focus of our cheese program are cheeses that you wouldn’t necessarily be cooking with on the regular (although you might sometimes.)  These cheeses are typically brought in based on conversations Tomas has with chefs and then cheesemongers to find really unique stuff that’s more likely to either stand on it’s own (cheese plate) or be the star or best supporting actor on a dish (salad, house-made burger).  Then, we might have a deeper bench: check out our collection of blue cheeses to see what we mean.

New England

  • Cobb Hill, Ascutney Mtn, VT.  Cow.
  • Chin Clip, Mt. Mansfield, VT.  Cow.
  • Coomersdale, Bonneview, VT.  Cow.
  • Dorset, Consider Bardwell, VT.  Cow.
  • Fiddlehead Tomme, Boggy Meadow, VT, Cow.
  • Forerunner, Mt. Mansfield, VT, Cow.
  • Kinsman’s Ridge, Jasper Hill, VT, Cow.
  • Landaff, Jasper Hill, VT, Cow.
  • Ledyard, Meadowood Farms, NY, Sheep.
  • Lake’s Edge, Blue Ledge, VT, Goat.
  • Olga, Seal Cove, ME, Cow & Goat.
  • Oma, Jasper Hill Cellars, Von Trapp Family, VT, Cow.
  • Melinda Mae, Mystic Cheese Co, CT, Cow.
  • Organic Triple Creme, Champlain Valley Creamery, VT, Cow.


  • Brillat Savarin, FR, Cow.
  • Comte, FR, Cow.
  • Epoisses de Bourgogne, FR, Cow.
  • Ossau-Iraty, FR (Basque), Sheep.
  • Pierre Robert, FR, Cow.
  • St. Andre, FR, Cow.


  • Fontina Valle d’Aosta, IT, Cow.  The real Fontina.
  • La Tur, IT, Cow, Goat & Sheep.
  • Robiola due latte, IT, Cow & Sheep.
  • Sottocenere (w/ Truffles), IT, Cow.
  • Taleggio IT, Cow.
  • Ubriaco alla Birra Rossa, IT, Cow.


  • Garrotxa, SP, Goat.
  • Idiazabal, SP (Basque), Sheep.
  • Manchego, SP, Sheep.
  • Mahon, SP, Cow.
  • Parmesan & Friends
  • Grana Padano, IT, Cow.
  • Parmesan-Reggiano, IT, Cow
  • Sarvecchio, Wisconsin, Cow.
  • Pecorino Romano, Locatelli, IT, Sheep.
  • Pecorino Romano, IT, Sheep.
  • Pecorino Toscano, IT, Sheep.
  • Piave, IT, Cow.
  • Gouda Pradera, Dutch, Cow.
  • Dry Jack, Vella Cheese Co, CA, Cow.


  • Alehouse Cheddar, VT Farmstead, VT, Cow.
  • Cabot Cheddar, White, in Mild, Sharp, or Extra Sharp, VT, Cow.
  • Cabot Clothbound Cheddar, Jasper Hill, VT, Cow.
  • Grafton 2-year Cheddar, Grafton, VT.  Cow.
  • Shelburne Farms 2-year Cheddar, VT, Cow.
  • Cheddar Curds, Maplebrook Farm, VT, Cow.


  • Bayley Hazen Blue, Jasper Hill, VT, Cow.
  • Buttermilk Blue, Emmi-Roth, WI, Cow.
  • Berkshire Blue, Berkshire Cheese Co., MA, Cow.
  • Cashel Blue, IR, Cow.
  • Fourme d’Ambert, FR, Cow.
  • Gorgonzola Dolce, IT, Cow.
  • Gorgonzola Piccante, IT, Cow.
  • Great Hill Blue, MA, Cow.
  • Maytag Blue, IA, Cow.
  • Middlebury Blue, Blue Ledge, VT, Cow.
  • Mossend Blue, Bonneview, VT, Sheep.
  • Point Reyes Original Blue, CA, Cow.
  • Roquefort, FR, Sheep.
  • Shropshire, UK, Cow.
  • Fresh White Cheeses
  • Burrata, Maplebrook Farms, VT, Cow.
  • Stracciatella, Maplebrook Farms, VT, Cow.
  • Mozzarella Curds, Maplebrook Farms, VT, Cow.
  • Mozzarella di Bufala, Cilento, IT, Buffallo.
  • Ricotta, Hand-Packed, Calabro, CT, Cow.
  • Ricotta Salata, US, Cow.
  • Goat Cheese, Laura Chenel, CA, Goat.
  • Goat Cheese, Vermont Creamery, VT, Goat.
  • Goat Cheese, Boucheron, FR, Goat.
  • Feta, Olympiana, GR, Sheep.
  • Feta, VT Creamery, VT, Goat.
  • Feta, Valbreso, FR, Sheep.
  • Cotija, Don Ricardo, MX, Cow.
  • Oaxaca, MX, Cow.
  • Tetilla, SP, Cow.
  • Halloumi, Shepherds of Cyprus, GR, Sheep & Goat.
  • Sfela, GR, Sheep.
Meadowood Farms produces award winning farmstead cheeses from their flock of pasture raised East Friesian sheep.
Meadowood Farms produces award winning farmstead cheeses from their flock of pasture raised East Friesian sheep.
By Diego Maldonado

Cave at Newmarket: Cured Meats

Fra Mani

Founded by Paul Bertolli, (former Chez Panisse chef and author of “Cooking by Hand”), Fra Mani makes some incredible salamis. Besides having a great texture and mouthfeel, these salamis have long, lingering finishes–some of the best we’ve ever tasted.  We also carry his mortadella studded with jowl fat, which comes in a reasonable six pound half-log.   We also carry his pancetta, which has a slightly softer texture than most, and is excellent for grinding into sausages, ragus and bolognese.

  • Salametto: under 1 # each, coarse ground, garlic scented
  • Nostrano: 2 # avg seasoned with sea salt, black pepper, garlic and white wine
  • Sopressata: large diameter, coarse chop, 10 # avg scented with clove and lightly salted
  • Toscano: deep burgundy color, with salt slightly more pronounced. About 22 inches long, 5-1/2 pound avg

La Quercia

Founded by Herb and Kathy Eckhouse, La Quercia produces some of the most highly regarded prosciutto in the world from Duroc, Tamworth and Berkshire pigs. Since their inception, they’ve insisted on humane and healthy practices. They use no pork from pigs fed nontherapeutic antibiotics or raised in confinement pens in huge metal barns. They require that growers provide pigs space to congregate, a place to sleep in deep bedding and access to the outdoors.

  • Prosciutto Americano, their signature item, made from Berkshire pork, and was the first breed-specific dry-cured ham in the USA.
  • Speck Americano: is like prosciutto, that is additionally very lightly smoked with apple wood after curing, to add flavor and sweetness to the meat.
  • Coppa: a deep, rich blend of Spanish pimento and organic cocoa. Naturally dry cured, so there are no nitrites, nitrates, vegetable substitutes or cultures.
  • Pancetta: this rolled pancetta has freshly ground spices of bay leaf, juniper and pepper throughout the meat, from pigs selected by farmer-owned Heritage Acres.
  • Prosciutto Picante: blend of hot pepper and fennel seed, with a bit of a freshly ground herbs, hand rubbed.
  • Guanciale: cured, organic, trimmed pork jowls
  • Iberico de Bellota Lardo: like those old episodes of Superheros, when Batman would team up with Wonder Woman to fight crime, La Quercia has called on their friends from Fermin to provide them with backfat from the true Iberico de Bellota (the black-hoofed pigs that feed on acorns in the Spanish dehesa) to make some really decedent, really thick lardo.

Niman Ranch

Niman Ranch has been a leader in sustainably raised meats since their inception in 1969 (Read their pig protocols for farmers.)  From their website:

“Niman Ranch has worked to develop the gold standard for humane animal care and environmental agriculture practices.  We work closely with Dr. Temple Grandin to guarantee all our protocols meet the strictest standards within the industry.  Our protocols ensure that whether our livestock are raised by farmers and ranchers in the Pacific Northwest, or the Midwest, their raising practices consistently deliver the highest quality.”

  • Boneless Ham: 11 # avg, fully cooked. This is a wet cure “city” style ham, and this is what you’ll be getting when you say “deli ham” into the phone at night.
  • Slab Bacon Smoked: avg weight 8 to 11 lbs, half-slabs.
  • Royal Ham: dry-cured for two weeks, then applewood-smoked for seven hours, this dry country-style ham is made from a single leg muscle, and averages 4 to 5 lbs. Different then the boneless ham, but also makes an excellent sandwich…or hash…or thick-cut ham steak…or braised and put on a crostini on top of yellow split pea soup.


Only legally allowed into the US via Fermin since 2008, this family makes and exports the well-known Jamon Iberico.  We carry two levels of product: Jamon Iberico, and Jamon Iberico de Bellota.  These both come from the black-hoofed (pata negra) breed of pig, and the difference is in the feed: the Bellota are on an acorn-only diet–and almost twice the price of their grain-and-acorn fed brethren.  If you’re looking for a gateway Fermin product, and aren’t ready to buy a whole bone-in or boneless Iberico ham, you might want to consider their excellent lomo.  It’s the cured Serrano loin, with an average weight of a 1.8 lbs.

  • Iberico Ham, Bone-In: avg 16#
  • Iberico Ham, Boneless: avg 10#
  • Iberico Bellota Ham, Bone-in: avg 15#
  • Iberico Bellota Ham, Boneless: 9#
  • Lomo Serrano: avg 18#

Olympic Provisions

Olympic Provisions’ salamis are the newest edition to our charcuterie program.  From their website:

“Salumist Elias Cairo grew up first generation Greek-American, with a father who made charcuterie at home. For five years in Switzerland under master chef Annegret Schlumpf, Cairo completed a chef apprenticeship developing his skills and passion for making charcuterie utilizing the finest ingredients.”

We were especially impressed with the Greek-style Loukanika salami.  All of their salami is naturally aged, hand cut, antibiotic-free pork from Carlton Farms- seasoned with sea salt, natural spices, and wrapped with all natural casings.  Really cool Eater article that will either inspire you to run off and open a sausage factory, or weep for the fact that you haven’t.

  • Finocchiona– Italian style, with garlic, black pepper, and fennel seed
  • Sopressata– garlic, clove and spices for heat
  • Chorizo Rioja– traditional chorizo, with sweet pimenton, garlic and oregano
  • Loukanika– a nod to their Greek heritage with cumin, and hints of orange zest.  Staff favorite.
  • Saucisson Sec -classic French style, with garlic and black pepper
  • Each variety is available by the 4.2 oz piece, at a cost of $6.25  per each

Redondo Iglesias:

Jamon Serrano: dry-cured for 18 mos.”Serrano” comes from “Sierra,” as this ham was traditionally made and cured in the mountain air.  Makes sense–cool temperatures allowed a long, slow cure.

Photo by T. Seng via Flickr
By Diego Maldonado

Important Update from Specialty Foods Boston

“We’re all in this together” is a cliché, but in this case it couldn’t be more accurate. Our success has always been entwined with yours.  When you’re busy, we’re busy.  When you’re slow, we’re slow.  We’ve always thought of ourselves as partners in your success, and you’ve certainly been partners in ours.  We’ve tried to create relationships with all of you that are intimate and personal, and in turn you have rewarded us with a degree of trust and loyalty that is humbling and inspiring.

We all still adjusting and learning how to navigate this evolving situation, but for those of you who are continuing to offer take-out and delivery, we will be here for you.  At this point we will continue to be open six days a week, but with a very limited staff and shortened hours of 7am-noon.  We’ll be buying everything day-to-day, with the goal of giving you the freshest possible food so that it doesn’t spoil if it takes longer to use.

No one knows what we’ll face in the weeks ahead.  Right now, our world is more unpredictable than any of us would like it to be and it feels like we are all united in anxiety.  But this crisis is also a reminder that we are all in this community together, and it is with that spirit that we will get through it – together.  Now, more than ever, we offer you our support, and in turn extend our deepest thanks for yours. 

By Diego Maldonado

Spring Begins

Spring produce is beginning, slowly and then suddenly.  Here’s the outlook:

Now: Equinox Mesclun, Knoll Farms Stinging Nettles and Green Garlic, Brokaw Passion Fruit, Champagne Mangoes, Richter Rhubarb, Muscat Grapes, Greengage Plums

Limited Special: Pink Pineapples!  These have beautiful pink flesh throughout and are quite sweet and delicious.  More perfume than a typical pineapple.

By the weekend: Fresh Green Garbanzos, Fresh English Peas, and Fava Beans

NOT YET:  Knoll Farm Artichokes in about a week.  Sometime in the next two weeks, we expect to see Greg Paul (Stockton) Asparagus, and Wild Ramps.  The outlook on Morels is poor- early-season morels come from China, and even if there were pickers available, they couldn’t be flown in.

Notes // 86: fresh red currants

First of the Season
Brokaw Passion Fruit
Champagne Mangoes
Pink Pineapples (limited)
Knoll Farm Stinging Nettles

Rising C Ranch- Reedly, CA
Page Mandarins
Blood Pumellos
Cara Cara Pink Navels
Meyer Lemons
Moro Blood Oranges
Seville Sour Oranges
Fresh Bergamot

Equinox Farms- Sheffield, MA
Mixed Baby Mesclun

Knoll Farms- Brentwood, CA
Green Garlic
Stinging Nettles
Wild Rapini

Harmony Meadows Farm- Smyrna Mills, ME
Fingerling Potatoes

Frith Farm- Scarborough, ME
Black Radishes

The Buckle Farm- Unity, ME
Watermelon Radishes

Red Fire Farm- Montague, MA
Green Kohlrabi
Purple Kohlrabi

Queen’s Greens- Amherst, MA
Green Daikon
Purple Daikon (ltd)

Two Farmers Farm- Scarborough, ME
Organic Rainbow Carrots
Organic Purple Dragon Carrots

Fishbowl Farm- Bowdoinham, ME
Organic Yellow Kimbe Carrots

Now in Season

Artisan Red Gem & Little Gem Lettuce
Artisan Mixed Baby Head Lettuce

Cut Baby Watercress
Firecracker Red Mizuna

Kyoto Carrots
Oregon Black Trumpet Mushrooms
Oregon Hedgehog Mushrooms
Trumpet Royale Mushrooms
Chef’s Mix Mushrooms

Spigarello Kale
Romanesco Cauliflower
Fioretti Cauliflower
Baby Brussels Sprouts
Shanghai Baby Bok Choi

Champagne Mangoes
Muscat Grapes
Greengage Plums
Richter Rhubarb

By Diego Maldonado

Heirloom Chicories, Passion Fruit, Green Garlic

A shipment arrived containing some of the most incredible chicories we’ve ever seen come through our warehouse.  Pictured above are the mixed heirloom chicories, baby size.  We also have Rosa di Gorizia, pictured below, variegated Castelfranco radicchio, and pink Radicchio del Veneto.

Who says late winter has to be all root vegetables?  The crisp chicories above are a natural pair with the heirloom citrus that’s at its peak right now.  Blood Pumellos, new to us this year, are everything you want in a grapefruit but can’t get, like a perfect acid-to-sweetness ratio, and a grapefruit-meets-tangerine peel aromatic oils.  Oroblancos, also known as melogolds, are another grapefruit cousin with white-gold flesh and, as billed a mellow sweetness.

Muscat Grapes are now in, and Knoll Farm Green Garlic is arriving twice weekly.  Richter Rhubarb is now available.  The short Greengage Plum season is now here- use fresh, or lacto-ferment some for later.  Expected Saturday: Will Brokaw’s Passion Fruit!  From Will Brokaw, grower of the excellent avocados we are anticipating in about two weeks.  A first for us, can’t wait to try it.

86/season over/no mas: all winter squash

1st of the Season
Brokaw Passion Fruit
Champagne Mangos

Mixed Baby Heirloom Italian Chicories
Variegated Castelfranco Radicchio
Pink Radicchio del Veneto
Rosa di Gorizia 

Rising C Ranch- Reedly, CA
Blood Pumellos
Paige Mandarins
Meiwa Kumquats
Cara Cara Pink Navels
Meyer Lemons
Santa Theresa Lemons
Moro Blood Oranges
Seville Sour Oranges
Fresh Bergamot

-Rosa di Gorizia Radicchio-

Knoll Farms- Brentwood, CA
Wild Rapini
Green Garlic

Weiser Family Farms- Tehachapi, CA
Purple Sprouting Broccoli

Harmony Meadows Farm- Smyrna Mills, ME
Fingerling Potatoes

Frith Farm- Scarborough, ME
Black Radishes

The Buckle Farm- Unity, ME
Watermelon Radishes

Red Fire Farm- Montague, MA
Green Kohlrabi
Purple Kohlrabi

Queen’s Greens- Amherst, MA
Green Daikon
Purple Daikon

Two Farmers Farm- Scarborough, ME
Organic Rainbow Carrots
Organic Purple Dragon Carrots
German Butterball Potatoes

Fishbowl Farm- Bowdoinham, ME
Organic Yellow Kimbe Carrots

-pink radicchio del Veneto-

Now in Season

Artisan Red Gem & Little Gem Lettuce
Artisan Mixed Baby Head Lettuce
Blue Sky Mesclun

Cut Baby Watercress
Firecracker Red Mizuna

Oregon Hedgehog Mushrooms
Oregon Black Trumpet Mushroom (Sat)
Trumpet Royale Mushrooms
Chef’s Mix Mushrooms

Green Garbanzo (limited)
Baby Garnet Yams
Celery Root
Cippolini Onions

-variegated Castelfranco radicchio-

Baby Brussels Sprouts
Purple Baby Brussels Sprouts
Romanesco Cauliflower
Fioretti Cauliflower
Shanghai Baby Bok Choi

Muscat Grapes
Richter Rhubarb
Fuyu Persimmons
Medjool Dates

By Diego Maldonado

Heilala Vanilla

Heilala Vanilla’s origins began in 2002 as an aid project founded by New Zealander, John Ross, and his family.  We caught up with the good folks at Heilala to learn more about why they what they do.

SFB: What made you decide to go into vanilla farming?

Heilala:  For a significant birthday, our founder John Ross (a retired New Zealand farmer) sailed to Vava’u, in the Kingdom of Tonga on a boat he’d built himself. He fell in love with the place and the people and when Cyclone Waka caused extensive damage to the Vava’u island group, he traveled back with friends from his Rotary Club to help with the clean-up. As a way to thank John for his efforts, a local family gifted him a plot of land in exchange for him using it to provide employment for those in the village. On a previous trip to Tonga, John had discovered vanilla orchids running wild and after some research and visits to established vanilla farms in Réunion Island, Tahiti, and Madagascar, he got to work on his own plot and subsequently partnered with other growers throughout Tonga to establish vanilla plantations

SFB:  Your vanilla is different than the stuff that’s commercially available.  Is it harder to do things your way?  Why do you do it anyway?

Heilala:  Home bakers and chefs today are demanding to know more about the ingredients they’re consuming, they want to know exactly what’s in their food, how it was sourced and produced. Heilala’s transparent supply chain, clean label ingredients and positive social impact to local grower communities along with support from customers inspire us to continue growing vanilla best practice.

SFB:  Anything you wish people (chefs, consumers) realized about your product that they might not know?

Heilala:  As one of the most labor-intensive crops in the world, there are lots of challenges growing vanilla! The orchid flower must be pollinated by hand and then the beans must be blanched, sweated, dried and cured. Climatic conditions play a major role as vanilla grows best in hot, humid conditions, and the plants require moderate rainfall evenly distributed through 10 months of the year, in order to thrive.

SFB:  What do you wish people knew about the commercial/commodity/mass-market version of your product that they probably don’t?

Heilala:  Typically vanilla is traded as a commodity similar to cocoa and coffee and can go through over ten sets of traders to reach the customer. which makes Heilala unique as a vanilla producer that grows, manufactures and markets the spice itself.

SFB:  What are your hopes for the future of your field?

Heilala:  In 2018, we completed 100 acres of vanilla planting in Tonga, which will enable us to continue to positively impact our grower communities in Tonga into the future. The growth will result in increased employment, particularly of local women in Tonga. As a result, there is an instilled sense of purpose and pride, which has a powerful effect on their independence, families, economic growth and the well-being of their communities. Heilala has a goal for 200 women to be employed in the Vanilla Industry in Tonga by 2022.

SFB:  What is the most satisfying part of what you do?

Heilala:  It’s always satisfying to see Heilala being used by a top bakery or restaurant and we were extremely excited when Flour bakery started using Heilala Vanilla. Each time a new customer comes on board a small group of villages in the South Pacific continues to be supported and have opportunities and options that they would not have had without the vanilla industry in Tonga. This is what gets us out of bed every day and is the most satisfying part!

Heilala Vanilla Comes Straight From The Source

Grown on rich, Pacific soil and dried under the Polynesian sun, the world’s best vanilla is an all-natural product of a perfect climate.  With a highly-scientific, unrefined process (cold-pressed, slow-extract), and an artisan work culture of the hard-working local farmers and families, Heilala Vanilla is innovating outdated Vanilla products and production.

Many know orchids to be a delicate, fickle flower, but few realize that Vanilla is a genus of the very same plant and that beans take 3 to 5 years to grow. Our farmers are dedicated craftsmen, tending to each plant with in-depth wisdom and expertise.

What makes Heilala Vanilla different?

  • The freshness and quality of Heilala Vanilla beans set them apart. Heilala Vanilla Beans are glossy, dark brown and supple—all indications of quality and freshness.
  • Heilala Vanilla is traceability from their plantations straight to the consumer’s pantry ensuring that there is s no unnecessary handling.
  • Heilala Vanilla partners with growers throughout Tonga to provide employment along with access to running water, housing, and facilities for education.


Masalu Halahala, 65, a vanilla farmer from central ‘Eua.

Words and photos courtesy of Heilala Vanilla

By Diego Maldonado

Fresh Red Currants, French Crosnes & Seville Sour Oranges

First of the Season Crosnes have arrived.  Also known as Chinese Artichoke, Knotweed, and perhaps coolest of all, Artichoke Betony, these have the winning nuttiness of a sunchoke, textural pop like a water chestnut, and taste really good with other white winter root veg, or prepared in the style of carbonara.

Ending soon: Chantarelle mushrooms will be done soon; we will continue to have other foraged winter mushrooms such as black trumpet and hedgehog.  Heirloom apples are done, and winter squashes are winding down.  As mentioned above, County Line had a very short season this year, and as a result, the mixed chicories will be over sooner than usual.  We do have many interesting single-variety chicories; scroll down to see!

-First of the Season-
French Crosnes
Fresh Red Currants
Seville Sour Oranges
Knoll Farm Rapini

Rising C Ranch- Reedly, CA
Cara Cara Pink Navels
Meyer Lemons
Moro Blood Oranges
Seville Sour Oranges
Ripe Yuzu
Coming mid-next week: Fresh Bergamot

Knoll Farms- Brentwood, CA
Wild Rapini

Harmony Meadows Farm- Smyrna Mills, ME
German Butterball Potatoes

Frith Farm- Scarborough, ME
Black Radishes

The Buckle Farm- Unity, ME
Watermelon Radishes

Red Fire Farm- Montague, MA
Green Kohlrabi
Purple Kohlrabi

Queen’s Greens- Amherst, MA
Green Daikon
Purple Daikon (ltd)

Two Farmers Farm- Scarborough, ME
Organic Rainbow Carrots
Organic Purple Dragon Carrots
Fingerling Potatoes

Fishbowl Farm- Bowdoinham, ME
Organic Yellow Kimbe Carrots

Featured Chicories
Endive & Red Endive
Pink Radicchio (ltd)

Now in Season

Artisan Red Gem & Little Gem Lettuce
Artisan Mixed Baby Head Lettuce
Blue Sky Mesclun

Cut Baby Watercress
Firecracker Red Mizuna
Micro “Purple Ice” Watercress

Oregon Hedgehog Mushrooms
Oregon Black Trumpet Mushroom
Trumpet Royale Mushrooms
Chef’s Mix Mushrooms

Delicata Squash
Row 7 Koginut Squash
Acorn Squash
Kabocha Squash
Spaghetti Squash
Butternut Squash

Native Macomber Turnips
Baby Garnet Yams
Celery Root
Cippolini Onions

Baby Brussels Sprouts
Purple Baby Brussels Sprouts
Romanesco Cauliflower
Fioretti Cauliflower
Shanghai Baby Bok Choi

Bosc Pears
Bartlett Pears
Seckel Pears
Asian Pears

Fuyu Persimmons
Medjool Dates

By Diego Maldonado