2014 HAMS ARE READY !!
"We will serve no swine before it's time!". Well folks, it's time and Nancy and Byron would like to shout out a big "THANK YOU" to all of our customers for being so patient.
We look forward to serving you in the 2014-2015 ham season. Thanks again for your help and support.
When you order more than one product and they are shipped to the same address, we will be happy to combine shipping costs if the shipper doesn't automatically do so.
Whole Ham Information
When you purchase your whole ham, you will notice that is enclosed in a white linen sale bag. The sale bag and the yellow card looped in the string contain some relevant information.
On the left hand side of the sale bag below the yellow North Carolina emblem, you will see a circle with a number in it. This is the USDA number assigned to our ham plant by the federal government. This seal is the proof that our ham products were inspected and passed by federal inspectors. On the back of the sale bag you will find some basic cooking instructions. You will also notice the "Safe Handling Information" on how to safely handle raw meat.
On the front and back of the yellow card, you will find some basic handling and more cooking tips. See also "Cooking Suggestions".
When you remove the bag you will be holding in your hands an authentic country ham which has been aged at least 9 months. Your ham still has the bone, skin, and the hock intact and it has not been altered in any way. The ham appears exactly as it looks at the end of the curing process. It is still wrapped in the original brown paper which now clings to the ham because the ham dries and shrinks during curing. In addition, many of the hams still have mold growth on them, another by-product of the curing phase. True country ham connoisserus know that mold on country hams is nothing to be alarmed about. It is not a sign that the meat has spoiled. It is to be expected as the sugar feeds the mold spores in the air. The mold grows only on the skin and does not affect the freshness or flavor of the meat at all. Just peel the paper off, wash the ham under warm running water and the mold will rub right off. By all means, don't throw the ham away.
Before it is released for sale every ham is checked for firmness and quality. We stick an ice pick in the center of the ham and sniff it. A good hearty aroma tells us that the ham cured out correctly. If you look carefully in the middle of the ham, you will see this tiny hole. The simple ice pick and the old fashioned smell test dates back to the way people cured hams many years ago. It worked for Mr. Vannoy then, it works for us now.
For your convenience we offer customers the option of getting a country ham whole or sliced. However, if your purchase a whole ham and decide after you receive it that you want it sliced, then you must take it to your local grocery store or other meat center to do so. There is a bone that runs down the middle of the ham that can only be cut with a band saw, which these places have. Don't try to use your kitchen butcher knife or electric carving knife to cut through the bone. It won't work. Before you take the ham to the butcher, you need to peel the paper off, wash the ham under warm running water, dry with a cloth, and slip it back into the white sale bag. You must present the ham in the sale bag to the butcher because he must examine our USDA seal and verify that our ham is government inspected meat. He has the right to refuse and will probably refuse to slice if he can't see the USDA seal which is the proof that our ham has passed inspection. If the butcher agrees to slice, ask him to cut the slices three sixteenths to one fourth inches thick. There will usually be a small charge for slicing. Unfortunately, it is getting harder and harder to get hams sliced at grocery store chains due to the stores' in house policies which prohibit slicing of "outside" hams. They are only permitted to slice the brands of country ham that they normally keep in stock. Therefore, keep in mind that if you don't ask us to slice your ham for you, then you may have difficulty getting it sliced depending on where you live.
See Also: Sliced and Vaccum packed hams, and Storage