When tradition, hospitality and good food come together, memories are made and rekindled. This winning combination is the foundation of Suzanne Bryan Sampietro’s new business, The Good Ham Company.

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Suzanne is mixing the Southern tradition of her Bryan family heritage with a modern, socially responsible approach to preparation of the hams as well as an intentional goal of giving back to the community. The Mid-South Food Bank is the beneficiary of her sales. One ham for every ten hams sold goes to the Food Bank. The Good Ham Company business plan is a win-win-win recipe for all involved.

Suzanne’s family has been in the business since way back in 1936.

Suzanne’s family has been in the business since way back in 1936.

Another “good” characteristic of Suzanne’s company, she will be emphasizing healthier options for serving ham at home by sharing recipes such as  The Shaved Ham Salad with Kale, Lentils and a Maple Black Pepper Vinaigrette (at the end of this post), which was provided by her cousin, Margaret Bryan French.

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Shaved Ham and Kale Salad (recipe below)

Suzanne has 19 cousins on the Bryan side, all of whom, she says, are good friends, too. They share great respect for the iconic Bryan Foods business created by their grandfather, and they remember their grandmother as being socially responsible and devoted to her community. The Good Ham Company has been inspired by the characteristics of these two role models within the Bryan family.

Suzanne's grandparent are seated (center), and Suzanne is the baby in her father's arms (standing, left).

Suzanne’s grandparents are seated (center), and Suzanne is the baby in her father’s arms (standing, left).

Suzanne gained valuable work experience long before the idea to start her Good Ham Company emerged. She had extensive experience in advertising, marketing and nonprofit work and started her own clothing business with a partner, all before the age of 30! She paused from this career path to do the work of a full-time mother. She and her husband, John, have three children. Now that her children are a bit older, Suzanne says she can put her business ideas into action and involve the children in the creative excitement.

And now, the star of this show: Each ham is five pounds of boneless, premium pork, and serves 12 to 15. They are made in Mississippi and arrive fully cooked. The hams undergo a slow-smoking process, and they are cured in a secret blend of spices that have been in the Bryan family for generations.

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When she founded The Good Ham Company, Suzanne didn’t want to offer a ham that just tasted good, Suzanne wanted to offer one that actually “did some good.” This new Memphis-based venture is a testimony to creativity, to giving back and to the resilience of family and business.

Cooking Tips and Recipe

Here are some Good Ham Company cooking tips and a Ham and Kale Salad recipe for your collection, one of many healthier options for serving ham that Suzanne and her family would like to share with followers over time:

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Slice and Serve

Since these hams are fully cooked, you can enjoy them right out of the fridge. Simply slice and serve—great for the holidays and unexpected guests!

Oven

Heat oven to 325°F. Place ham in baking dish with 1/2 cup water. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake at 325°F. for approximately 20 to 30 minutes per pound until warm. Serve ham now or glaze as follows: Remove foil from ham. Brush or spoon desired glaze over ham. Bake, uncovered, at 325°F for 10 minutes.

 

Shaved Ham and Kale Salad

Shaved Ham and Kale Salad

Shaved Ham Salad with Kale, Lentils and a Maple Black Pepper Vinaigrette

by The Right Recipe, from the kitchen of Margaret Bryan French

Serves 4 to 6

For the Vinaigrette:

3 teaspoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup light olive oil
1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper

Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl.

For the Salad:

2 cups fresh kale, torn into small bite-sized pieces, tough center ribs discarded
1 cup black lentils, cooked according to package directions (1/2 cup raw will yield one cup cooked)
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup thinly shaved ham, cut into strips
1/2 cup pecan pieces
salt and pepper to taste

Gently toss kale and lentils together in a medium bowl with the vinaigrette and let marinate while you prepare the ham and pecans. Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add pecan pieces and cook briefly, just 1 to 2 minutes, then add shaved ham and cook, stirring constantly so that the pecans don’t burn, until heated through and ham is just beginning to crisp up around the edges. Add the ham and pecans to kale mixture and toss thoroughly. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed. (Remember that ham is salty so you may not need to season further.)

Note: Fresh arugula or spinach can be substituted for the kale if desired. But if you do that, you will want to wait until the ham and pecans cool before tossing them in the salad. The kale benefits from the slight wilting due to the heat, but spinach and arugula are more fragile and may cook too much. 
 
 
Have a happy, healthy ham holiday!! And good luck, Suzanne, during what is sure to be a busy holiday season for The Good Ham Company!
 
Hams are $30 each for Memphis delivery. Contact The Good Ham Company for pricing on orders outside the Memphis area. The hams will arrive in a burlap bag with a gift card enclosure and recipe. Hams will be available the first of December, 2013 … what a great Christmas gift! Place your order online and learn more about this new and exciting Memphis-based business: goodhamcompany.com.