How We Make Salami

photo of a side view of Olympia Provisions Soppresata
It seems that everywhere you go these days you hear the words "handmade" or "craft". But what does that all really mean? And specifically, what does it mean here at Olympia Provisions? We do things differently here, and it's our ingredients, technique, patience and commitment that truly set us apart. When Elias started making salami, he committed himself to doing it the right way, no matter what. And here we are, with approximately 30,000 more square feet of production space, yet doing things the exact same way. So instead of throwing out all the buzz words, today we're going to explain what we really do here. Specifically, what we do to make delicious, melt-in-your-mouth salami. And why it makes the difference. 
a photo of the ingredients used to make Olympia Provisions salami
Ingredients are our foundation. We hand butcher, fresh, never frozen high quality pork. Our pork is antibiotic and hormone-free, and raised by farmers who respect their animals and the environment. We grind whole spices, like garlic and cumin, the day they go into our salami. So why do we do all of this? The quality of our pork is the foundation of our product taste and texture. We also know that when spices are ground they lose their intensity and depth, so we grind them right before they go into our salami. The same can be said about our aromatics, like garlic. This approach is laborious, but it ensures that every bite you take is full of complex and bright flavors.
tools used to make sausages
We pay so much attention to detail and use the same techniques we have since the beginning. This ensures consistency in our salami. Unlike our competitors, we use leaned out pork leg, hand cut pure back fat and real hog casings in our salami. Although there are cheaper cuts of meat, we never compromise quality for profit or ease. By taking a ham leg and trimming it down to 100% lean, we ensure that you don't get any chewy bites of sinew or salami that is too greasy. By using pure back fat, we end with a texture that should melt in your mouth and a beautiful contrast in the fat particles. And by using real hog casings, as opposed to beef or artificial collagen casings, you are able to eat every bite of salami that we make. Other salami makers will encourage you to peel the casing, but the natural hog casing adds to the texture and flavor profile of our salami.
photos of the aging process of salami
 We develop our noteworthy salami by allowing our meats to cook, ferment, smoke and age slowly, without rushing any step in our process. Our salami ferments in custom environments which facilitate natural mold blooms. We ferment for three days at low temperatures, unlike many salami makers who ferment for only 4-12 hours. Our long fermentation time comes from old European techniques and allows the salami to show its true flavors, not tangy and acidic flavors. After fermentation, we let our salami dry to perfection, for a minimum of 21 days, often as much as 28 days. During this time, our beautiful molds develop. The mold acts as a natural barrier to pathogens and creates an authentic old world salami. This requires daily care, but makes a very special, living product. 
various Olympia Provisions pates, salamis, and deli meats laid out on a white table
 In order to ensure quality, we hand make all of our meats, never co-packing or outsourcing any part of our process. This allows us to control the quality of the ingredients and the methods that make our salami so special. From butchering the ham legs to hand-wrapping the salami, every step of the process is in our own hands, right here in beautiful Portland, Oregon.