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Vermont Salumi: A Delizioso Taste of Italy

By Tracey Medeiros / Photography By Brent Harrewyn | May 01, 2014
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Peter Roscini Colman’s experiences in life, and passion for food, were the inspiration for his business, Vermont Salumi. Born in Assisi, in the Umbria region of Italy, Peter moved to Vermont when he was 31⁄2 years old. Growing up on an organic vegetable farm, Peter split his time between working on his family’s Cate Farm in Plainfield and taking annual trips to Italy to visit other family members.

He always loved eating prosciutto while in Italy, but felt that it was an expensive product. It was during a visit to Italy that Peter decided to learn how to cure his own meat. He expressed this desire to family and friends, who recommended that he apply for apprenticeships with the Old World butchers in Italy. Peter soon found himself in a butcher shop in Italy learning how to slaughter pigs and cure the meat.

Upon his return to Vermont, Peter determined that the state offered an excellent business opportunity for dry-curing meats. Planning to use the advanced curing techniques that he had learned in Italy, Peter renovated the space in his family’s barn to start Vermont Salumi. His company currently offers four types of sausages, which are made from local pork that is raised on pasture without hormones or antibiotics. These sausages are made by hand, in small batches, without the use of nitrates or preservatives.

Peter currently offers fresh sausage, but hopes to eventually start selling prosciutto.

“It will be a while before I sell prosciutto, but I will do so someday. Speaking from a business standpoint, prosciutto is really resource-intense because it not only takes a year to cure, but you also need a lot of space in which to hang the meat. Starting a business on a tight budget means that I am not able to begin with a product that takes a year to cure. I would have to buy the hams and ramp up for production to make prosciutto. The process would entail curing approximately five hams a week, meaning that all of my money and space would be tied up,” explains Peter.

The hardworking business owner considers sausage an ideal product. He has now been making sausage for seven years.

“I buy the pork and the trim on a Wednesday, make it into sausage by Thursday and sell it on Saturday, getting my money back with some profit. From a business standpoint, sausage is a great product to make,” says Peter.

He buys his pork from Vermont Family Farms in Enosburg. The pigs are all pasture raised and are not given antibiotics or hormones, which is extremely important to Peter. His wine is purchased from Lincoln Peak Vineyard in New Haven, Vermont, and the garlic from Bella Farm in Monkton, Vermont.

Vermont Salumi’s first four varieties of sausage stem from stories and experiences in Peter’s life and are representative of certain times and places.

“Sometimes, I wake up in the middle of the night with an idea. Of course experimenting with different ingredients has also been helpful,” he says.

The Daily Grind is the company’s biggest seller. Peter uses garlic, bold red wine, salt and pepper in its preparation. His mentors in Italy schooled him in this recipe, which is built on a centuries-old foundation of Umbrian tradition and is the essence of his apprenticeship.

“For me, it is the quintessential sausage! I try to make a high-quality sausage on all levels. From a flavor and taste standpoint, my products are distinctive because their ingredients are all locally sourced and meticulously chosen,” explains Peter.

“I want to stimulate Vermont’s economy by making sure that my business promotes and generates livelihoods for other Vermonters. It is very important to me that my company does not deplete the environment of its much-needed nutrients and resources. I try to support other small businesses here in the state of Vermont. By doing so, I will not only be making a product that is sustainable, but also one that helps to fuel the state’s small businesses through the promotion of local agriculture.

“I think it is really important that Vermonters keep coming up with new ways to make sure that agriculture is viable here in our state. As long as we continue adding depth with new business ventures, we can keep Vermont thriving financially, which will assure that our communities remain healthy,” Peter emphasizes.

Nestled in one room in the Colman family’s barn is a culinary treasure that not only produces a product, which is sustainable and mouthwatering and also promotes local food producers while continually advocating for a healthy environment. As Peter’s Italian relatives would say, “Delizioso!”

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