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Archive for December, 2013

A Little Bit of Pork with Your Christmas Pine

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Jason Toraldo really likes pulled pork.  He also really likes Christmas.  These seemingly unrelated things didn’t mean much three seasons ago, until a brainchild of an idea turned into another quirky Baltimore business.  Businesses around here, if they are unique and friendly enough, tend to turn into traditions.  Throw in a little fun and you have Pork & Pine.  It’s how a graduate student with a bike trailer and a Santa suit became a local sensation.

It all started in the Fall of 2011 when Jason was brainstorming with a childhood friend one night at his apartment in Federal Hill after enjoying said friend’s father’s recipe of delicious pulled pork.  How cool would it be, they thought, if someone opened up a local Christmas tree lot right there in the neighborhood, and along with the trees sold a delectable pulled pork sandwich? The idea seemed plausible enough so on went the search for the perfect lot location.  After a little looking Jason realized that there just wasn’t an available space in the somewhat cramped downtown neighborhood and decided to take the idea on the road.  Thus started the first season of Pork & Pine.  Dressed in a Santa suit with trailer in tow, Jason and his roommate grabbed a boombox with foil-wrapped piggy-in-hand, and  hopped on bikes to deliver just over 20 trees that season.

Lo and behold, after getting much publicity that year in the local news and papers the health department rang.  Apparently, you can’t just borrow some BBQ from your friend’s dad, throw on a Santa Suit, and show up to your neighbor’s houses with a huge pine tree for profit. Who knew?  The second search then began for the perfect way to deliver pork legally. Red tape is fun here in Baltimore. So fun that Jason finally decided to outsource his pig.  In comes Harborque.  The downtown BBQ joint mulled it over between beers and decided why the hell not? Free publicity and Christmas joy for all sounded like a really good idea.

This year for their third season of balsam and pork fat, Jason is estimating a record 70 trees in sales.  But it’s not about the money for this Johns Hopkins University graduate student, who now uses his dad’s spare Jeep to deliver the goods all over the Metro Baltimore area. “I dunno what the future holds,” Jason muses, “but for right now I’m just having fun doing it!”

It’s more than fun, though, which Pork & Pine proved when they added a charity component last year to the mix by raising $1,100 for The Ronald McDonald House.

Pork, fun, and charity.  Who could ask for more?

For more information on how to have a tree and a meal delivered to your house this year by a skinny white guy in red velvet go to http://www.pork-n-pine.com/Home.htm

As a bonus, the the bun is always served on the side, so just in case you were wondering when the food-allergy friendly part would come in, here it is! 

Cellina – The Hopeful Foodie

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