La Quercia, Norwalk, IA

Handcrafted Cured Meats

  • La Quercia
  • La Quercia
  • La Quercia

About La Quercia

Herb and Kathy Eckhouse started La Quercia with the goal of making uniquely delicious cured meats from humanely raised American pork. Though their appreciation of fine salumi was sparked by several years spent living in Parma, Italy, it was the beauty of their home land in Iowa that inspired them to start curing meats in their own basement.  They wanted to create a natural food that expressed their appreciation of the bounty that surrounded them.  

During their Italian hiatus, they ate prosciutto 3-4 times a week and grew to understand the complexity and subtleties of this 2000 year-old man-made food.  Mr. Eckhouse researched and experimented extensively for 8 years in his home before building a prosciutto plant in Norwalk, Iowa. He called his new venture La Quercia which means “oak”, a reference to the ancient oak savannas of Italy as well as in Iowa, where the oak is the state tree. He then began networking at national food conventions and bringing his product straight to upscale restaurants for tastings.

Celebrated chefs like James Beard Award winner Paul Kahan of Chicago, Mario Batali and Andrew Carmellini of Locanca Verde and other New York restaurants were immediately converted. Mr. Carmellini proclaimed it “the most amazing prosciutto I’ve even seen outside of Italy”.

Today the Eckhouses and their team salt, turn, and trim each piece by hand in their aging rooms.  They cure six different cuts of pork: prosciutto, coppa, pancetta, guanciale, lomo, lardo, plus ‘nduja and several kinds of salami. Their meats are dry cured with sea salt and contain no nitrates or nitrites. La Quercia uses pork from family farms in the Midwest that raise their animals humanely and without antibiotics or hormones. The Tamworth and Berkshire pigs they use feed on up to 6 varieties of acorns every fall. 

La Quercia
The prosciutto produced by this Iowa-based company would make an Italian weep with
its award-winning balance of salty, creamy, sweet, and rich.
Bon Appetit Magazine