This Husband-and-Wife-Owned Startup Is Revolutionizing the Kosher Meat Business
Kim Lachance Shandrow | November 18, 2016
Anna and Naftali Hanau first met while working on an organic Jewish Farming Fellowship farm in rural Connecticut. They fell in love, tied the knot, and started a family.
Along the way, they also started their own business.
Grow and Behold Foods co-founders Anna and Naftali Hanau.
Founded in 2010, the couple’s Brooklyn-based startup Grow and Behold Foods sells kosher OU Glatt pastured beef and poultry from livestock raised on small and sustainable family farms. The social impact company ships its highly specialized cuts to customers who observe kosher dietary guidelines, from the boroughs of New York City and across the nation.
The couple—communications director Anna, a published author and Jewish educator, and CEO Naftali, a horticulturist by trade and Jewish ritual slaughterer (shochet)—never planned to enter the kosher meat business. As newlyweds, they had originally aimed to start an organic vegetable farm. But Anna says the idea for Grow and Behold took root after she and her husband discovered a frustrating hole in the kosher foods market.
“We wanted to eat sustainably produced, ethical, delicious, hormone- and antibiotic-free kosher meat,” she says in an interview with Free Enterprise. “Meat from healthy animals raised on open pastures, where they’re free to move around.” But they struggled to find such specific fare, even at the better farmer’s markets in the city, and they knew they weren’t alone.
“We talked to a lot of people who, like us, wanted to eat animals who live the lives they’re meant to live—in both metropolitan and rural areas,” she adds. “So we set out to satisfy that need.”
The Hanaus also set out to build a business that they could tailor around their Shabbat-observance of the Jewish faith, and enable them to send their children to private Jewish day school. Grow and Behold fits both bills, Anna says.
At first, she and Naftali worked on their own and sold only chicken. With each passing year, they added employees (they now have 20) and new products.
Today, Grow and Behold’s menu has grown to include kosher turkey, duck, beef, lamb, rose veal, beef bacon, sausages, gefilte fish, and wild salmon. The company also now sells hard-to-find specialty kosher cheeses (OU and cholov yisroel), thanks to a partnership with fellow New York specialty food purveyor Brent Delman, the chief cheesemonger behind The Cheese Guy.
As the Hanaus’ budding venture expanded beyond their Brooklyn brownstone neighborhood, and beyond the Big Apple, so did their delivery operation. Customers in New York City, Westchester, Long Island, and Northern New Jersey receive deliveries from Grow and Behold’s own fleet of dedicated van drivers. Deliveries to farther flung areas of the country are shipped via FedEx and freight.
The meat and poultry Anna and Naftali offer are raised on independent farms in Pennsylvania and Maryland that echo the couple’s values around animal welfare and environmentally sustainable agriculture.
“We work with them because we want consumers to think about where their food comes from and why they should pay a little bit more for good quality meat,” she says. “We also aim to raise awareness that, when you raise animals outdoors, it’s healthier for the animals, the farmers, and the earth.”
One farmer Grow and Behold contracts with, Anna recalls, was so thrilled to see his formerly cooped-up turkeys wandering around outside the barn, he could barely contain his enthusiasm. “He called us up and said, ‘The turkeys are so happy, they’re so cute!’ He’d never seen them running so wild and free.”
Practicing what she preaches, Anna’s own poultry flock roams her family’s backyard. She keeps a dozen chickens for fresh eggs. As for the turkey she’ll treat her family to on Thanksgiving next week, you can be sure it’ll be a Grow and Behold bird, too.
A roasted Grow and Behold Foods pastured kosher turkey.
As a special Thanksgiving treat to Free Enterprise readers, Anna also shared her favorite recipe for tasty turkey and gravy. Enjoy!
1 pasture-raised turkey
1/4 cup rendered chicken or duck fat (schmaltz), separated
3 to 4 tablespoons of paprika
1 to 2 peeled onions
1 cup of chicken broth
1 tablespoon of flour
Roast the Turkey
Bring turkey to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Pat the turkey dry. Cover all of its skin with schmaltz, then dust the turkey liberally with paprika.
Peel and quarter 1 to 2 onions, and place in the bottom of the roasting pan.
Set the turkey on a rack in the roasting pan and roast it until the temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit in the thickest part of the breast. Baste every 30 minutes or so with juices from the pan. Allow approximately 12 to 15 minutes per pound for pastured turkeys, which are leaner than conventional turkeys and cook much more quickly. (The flesh may still look a little pink, but if the thermometer says it’s done, don’t keep cooking! Thigh and leg joints should feel loose and wiggle easily. If they don’t, you can carve them off the turkey and return to the oven at 300 degrees Fahrenheit to continue to tenderize.)
Tent the turkey with foil to cool.
Make the gravy
Transfer the turkey pan drippings to a gravy separator and allow the fat to rise and the solids to settle. Strain out onions.
Melt 1 tablespoon of margarine or schmaltz in a small saucepan and whisk in 1 tablespoon of flour. Add pan juices (not fat), and up to 1 cup of broth or water, and whisk until the sauce thickens, for about 5 to 10 minutes.
If desired, chop up the onions and add them to the gravy (or just snack on them, they are divine!) Season with salt and pepper, if desired.