We were just farmers,” says Ray Price, recollecting his family’s bold decision to launch Sunterra Market in 1990. “We were just trying to figure out the right way of doing it.”
Ray is president of the Sunterra group, which today includes Sunterra Farms, headquartered in Acme, Alberta; Sunterra Meats, headquartered in Trochu, Alberta; and Sunterra Market, headquartered in Calgary, Alberta. Back in the ‘80s, Sunterra Farms (then known as Pig Improvement Canada) had already been quite successful thanks to their new style of pig production which included better nutrition and healthier pigs. At the time, they were the largest supplier of pigs across Canada!
Although business was booming, the family realized that pork quality would only become increasingly important to consumers and so they began processing meat in Trochu at Sunterra Meats in 1990. This allowed them full quality control and traceability from the farm through to processing. Around the same time, the family decided they wanted direct feedback from consumers on their pork, and so Sunterra Market was born.
“Part of the difference at Sunterra is that we hired chefs to come into our stores,” Ray says. “That connection to our farms through talented chefs and meat cutters is so important, for them to be able to talk with customers and share expertise and create the best experience we possibly can.”
June is pork month, and to help you celebrate we've got all the information you need to enjoy premium Sunterra Farms pork from our meat department or kitchen!
Hams are made from the lean and meaty back leg. This is also where prosciutto comes from! All our tasty hams are smoked with Birchwood at Valbella Gourmet Foods in Canmore, A.B. You can find boneless and semi-boned hams in our meat department or stop by the kitchen for already-roasted ginger glazed or honey mustard ham. Check out our Sunterra Farms ham recipes like honey mustard glazed spiral ham and orange and brown sugar glazed ham.
Shoulders have beautiful marbling that require low and slow cooking for the ultimate fall-off-the-fork, flavourful pork. Here’s where you’ll find our popular capicola collar steaks and roasts (perfect for pulled pork) and blade roasts. We make our deli-sliced porchetta in market by wrapping capicola in tender pork belly and roasting until the outside is crispy and the inside is tender. Check out our Sunterra Farms pork shoulder recipes like pulled pork with apple and fennel slaw, tacos al Pastor and mole pulled pork torta.
Fat is where it’s at. At least that’s what our resident meat expert Gary Smith says, and we won’t argue. Bacon isn’t everyone’s favourite for no reason: it’s full of flavour. You can also buy fresh pork belly and slow roast it in a marinade for incredibly juicy, rich meat. We’re featuring shoyu pork belly in our kitchens this month so swing on in and give it a try! Check out our Sunterra Farms pork belly recipes like shoyu pork belly and porchetta.
Not to be confused with back ribs, which come from, well…the back, side ribs are cut from the belly. That makes them very flavourful, but not as meaty because they’re cut very close to the bone to leave more of that coveted pork belly available. Like shoulder cuts, cook side ribs low and slow for tender, delicious meat. Check out our chipotle and fennel Sunterra Farms side ribs recipe!
Here’s the real primo stuff: meat from this area is the most tender. These cuts will cook fast, so don’t overdo it! Pork is safe to eat when cooked to 160F (71C). Some meat department favourites include ultra-lean tenderloin, meaty back ribs, centre cut chops and roasts, sirloin chops (they come from the ham side and are fairly lean), rib chops (they come from the shoulder side and are more marbled) and rib roasts; the pork equivalent of prime rib. Check out our Sunterra Farms pork loins and backs recipes like bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin, cherry mustard glazed pork kebabs and bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin skewers.