HERITAGE CATERING: CONNECTING THE DOTS OF FARM, FOOD AND HEALTH IN MASSACHUSETTS
At Heritage, our catering business operates at the intersection of innovative agriculture, food and health.
Combining these three ingredients, our food is delicious, affordable, nutritious, sustainable, profitable and socially transformative. This constitutes the scorecard through which we measure our performance.
Heritage Food Truck Catering is a for-profit Limited Liability Company (LLC) with a triple mission of encouraging the development of local agriculture, fostering the ethnic diversity of food in greater Boston and contributing to the health of local population.
OUR FOOD: THE DIVERSITY OF CUISINES OF THE WORLD
At Heritage, we love the American tradition of each wave of immigrants bringing their foods with them as an expression of their culture. The city of Malden, where our kitchen is based, is a gastronomical melting pot where first generation Italian tomato pasta and Irish brisket happily cohabit with more recent waves of Latin American empanadas, Chinese dim sum, Indian idli and Nigerian soups. Our young chef Emmett Ledbetter views himself as the humble curator of those traditions, subtly adding to those dishes a local farm overlay, a healthy touch and a culinary inventiveness that is uniquely his.
We are happy to work with you and develop menus that range from basic, affordable meat and potato fare to more expensive exotic culinary explorations. Please see our menu page (link) to get a sample of current menu items for this fall (link).
GOOD FOOD CAN BE HEALTHY: THE “EAT THE RAINBOW” PHILOSOPHY
A humorist once reflected that most nutrition theories are the moral equivalent of “if it tastes good, spit it out”. At Heritage, we strongly disagree with this negativist view of health. Food is about eating great-tasting foods that also happen to prevent inflammation in the human body.
One of the most powerful ways to prevent inflammation in our body is to eat vegetables and fruit exhibiting vibrant colors (inside and outside). Yes, color vibrancy is correlated with health, so at Heritage, we take our colors seriously. This is where our relationship with local farms is particularly potent. There is biological magic to the red lycopene of tomatoes in staving off cancer, in the orange of beta-carotene in squash to prevent cardio-vascular incidents and in the blue of anthocyanin in blueberries to strengthen mental functions. At Heritage, we create dishes with a color dominant that, when eaten in combination, walk you to the end of the rainbow where golden health lies.
We also believe that salt, sugar and fats are part of the fun of life and can be used to make food taste good if introduced wisely. Because they can cause inflammation, we combine them with “antidote agents” that reduce their potentially negative effect. When it comes to fats, we make sure our meals contain a good balance between omega-3 (the good fat) and omega-6 (the bad fat), something we achieve by utilizing meat and fish that is free to roam and fed what their digestive system was designed to handle. We rely on the neutralizing power of potassium to counteract the role of salt (for example, we use sea salt, because it contains potassium, which is better than fine salt). We also utilize the vacuum flushing power of fibers (and proteins) to reduce the potentially detrimental effect of sugar.
LOCAL FARMS AS AN INTEGRAL PART OF OUR FOOD COMMUNITY
At Heritage, local farmers and their staff are much more than suppliers of local produce to us: they are our business partners. The local produce they grow has three major advantages over “big food” produce:
Having said that, not all local farmers are successful at growing good-tasting produce, so we are quite selective in picking farmers who offer the best flavor and nutrition for each produce we utilize. We like farmers who specialize in individual produce (e.g., squash, tomatoes or strawberries), rather than jack-of-all-trades who grow very small quantities of a large number of produce. We want Heritage to become strategic partners to high-quality local farmers who want to develop the scale they need to reach the core of the food market and become major actors in the re-construction of the local ag-food-health chain.
Today, the overwhelming majority of the fruit and vegetables consumed in Massachusetts comes from areas without water (California), without soil (Florida), with uneven labor practices (Mexico) or with cold climates (Canada greenhouses). Heritage wants to help grow local farms to the point where they can come closer to competing with non-local foods on cost, and exhibit their differentiation more transparently.
At Heritage, we want to help our farmers become relevant economic players that hire a larger and larger population of local residents (by the way, many of those farm employees are also ethnically diverse). We want our local farmers to connect better with local food manufacturers who utilize their produce in their meals and products.
We are particularly interested in connecting Western Massachusetts, where the soil is fertile and farms are larger and more wholesale-oriented, with Eastern Massachusetts, where the bulk of the food-consuming market lies with the presence of Boston. We want Heritage to role-model how Western Massachusetts can participate in the wealth generation of the vibrant Boston food scene through the vibrancy of its agriculture and farm-based products.