by Ann Thurlow
Jordan Liantzakis just did something no one in PEI has done for forty years. He got a license to operate a slaughterhouse. It’s telling that it’s been that long—food production has grown from something done on family farms to something done by large companies. Jordan wants to change that, at least in his neck of the woods.
Getting the slaughterhouse up and running is just the latest step in a journey that has taken him from being a chef, to being a farmer to adding value to food, most specifically by turning meat into charcuterie. He hasn’t been in business that long but has developed a loyal following, especially among local restaurants who want to offer their patrons toothsome nibbles.
But it all started with ducks. When Jordan and his partner moved to PEI, it was with the intention of having more control over the food he loved to cook and eat. He bought some property near Crapaud and started a duck farm; the flock has now grown to 1200 birds. He found an eager market in restaurants, stores and consumers who had been wanting for a long time to find a source for a fresh local product.
With the duck farm (which is called Papia Papa) well established, Jordan began to turn his sights to other products —specifically those that combine his love of cooking with his interest in meat. He began making charcuterie—things like salami and dry cured bacon as well as developing other products (hello, turmeric pickled duck eggs) to fill out a charcuterie platter. He sells to restaurants but he is also selling direct to consumers at the new Kent St. Market and at the Thursday market at the Farm Centre in Charlottetown. A bonus at the latter location: samples.
Jordan is currently making his charcuterie using heritage pigs which, in a great example of interesting business begetting interesting business, he persuaded a local farmer to grow for him. Heritage pork is prized for its fattiness and flavor and the breeds are best suited to small farms which use less intensive methods. This suits Jordan just fine: it supports his philosophy of food production as well as providing a tasty base for his own products. He hopes as well to add charcuterie made with duck – duck prosciutto, for example.
For his next adventure, Jordan will co-host and prepare an asado- a South American style barbeque at Barnone Brewery in August. The meat is butterflied and slow roasted—not on the flame, but beside it. The meat becomes very tender and smoky flavoured, the very best sort of barbeque.
Jodan Liantzakis credits his Greek heritage for his love of cooking and his interest in producing good, high quality meat. This “blood knowledge” as he calls it spurs him on, inspires him to look back into agriculture’s past for more delicious ways of growing and preparing food.