Bill Andreetta knows how to bring home the bacon.
The Manteca man who parlayed a family meat service started by his parents into what is arguably the premier processor of ham and bacon products on the West Coast, if not the nation, into Sunnyvalley Meats has teamed up with Ron and Susan Dell’Osso to produce the inaugural Baconfest Saturday and Sunday at Dell’Osso Farms.
The two days of bacon, beer, and bands is celebrating all things bacon. So who best to ask about bacon than Mr. Bacon himself, Bill Andreetta.
QUESTION: What’s your favorite way to eat bacon?
ANSWER: “I like bacon just as bacon.”
QUESTION: What’s the oddest thing you’ve had with bacon in it?
ANSWER: “It was in a cocktail I ordered (at Scoma’s Restaurant on Fisherman’s Wharf) in San Francisco. They put bacon in a Bloody Mary.”
QUESTION: How did it taste?
QUESTION: How much bacon do you eat in a week?
ANSWER: “I better not tell you because my doctor might read this.
QUESTION: What’s the most unusual bacon dish that will be served at the Baconfest?
ANNSWER: “Not sure but I do know the deep fried bacon will be a big hit. It’s delicious.”
QUESTION: What do you think is the best cut of bacon?
ANSWER: “Thick cuts that are smoked.”
QUESTION: How do you cook bacon?
ANSWER: “ I bake it in an oven. I put it on a cookie sheet covered with aluminum foil, turn the oven to 350 degrees and bake it for 30 minutes.” That is how the majority of bacon being served Saturday and Sunday will be prepared. Andreetta has also barbecued bacon noting they need to be thick pieces and it takes a little effort. It can be tricky. The one way he won’t cook bacon is using a microwave.
QUESTION: How much bacon do you expect will be served during the Baconfest?
ANSWER: “15,000 pounds.” That translates into 240,000 slices if you get 16 slices per pound. That’s roughly a quarter of Sunnyvalley Meats’ daily production of 1 million bacon slices at its Manteca location on West Yosemite Avenue across the tracks from the Altamont Corridor Express station.
QUESTION: What’s the right amount of fat on bacon?
ANSWER: “You need to have fat on bacon. It gives it its taste. You want it to be about 50-50.”
QUESTION: A myth about bacon you’d like to set straight?
ANSWER: “That it’s salty and splatters (grease) too much when you’re cooking it. If that’s the case it’s not Sunnyvalley bacon.”
QUESTION: Flavors of bacon that will be at the Baconfest?
ANSWER: Maple, sweet and spicy, hickory smoked, peppercorn .
QUESTION: Favorite saying about bacon?
ANSWER: “Bacon powered. It’s on race cars (Sunnyvalley Meats sponsors for Jacob Gomes).” Gomes is a 23-year-old Manteca racer that won the SPEARS Southwest Tour Series title for 2015 in a season that came down to the finale at The Bullring at the Las Vegas Speedway. Several race cars will be on display at the Baconfest including a replica of the Batmobile.
QUESTION: Most unusual bacon items?
ANSWER: “There’s lot of them. I have bacon flavored toothpicks. There’s bacon flavored toothpaste. There’s a lot.”
QUESTION: Where is the farthest you’ve traveled and gone to a restaurant or casino that uses Sunnyvalley bacon?
ANSWER: “Winnipeg. We sell a lot of bacon in Canada. Some of it we package under other labels. At (the Winnipeg restaurant) it was Gordon Food Service bacon. We have our bacon in hams in probably half of the casinos from Thunder Valley north to Seattle.”
QUESTION: How many workers do you employ?
ANSWER: “About 150 year round and we add 50 for the holidays to produce hams.” Andreetta is getting ready to roughly double the size of the 60,000-square-foot plant where the meat is cured, smoked, and packaged. In recent years due to the surge in bacon’s popularity Sunnyvalley Meats has enjoyed double digit growth on an annual basis.
QUESTION: Can you imagine someone eating 12 pounds of bacon in six minutes like the professional competitive eaters will try to do on Sunday at the Baconfest?
ANSWER: “No. I don’t know where they would put it.” Andreetta said the most slices he has ever had at one setting is 10.
QUESTION: Bacon has gotten a bad rap in past years. Any comments about that?
ANSWER: “If you eat too much of anything it is not good for you.”
Andreetta said he remembers his father questioned him years ago why he was going off to Fresno to meet with a potential customer.
“He told me I shouldn’t being going to Fresno as I hadn’t sold bacon to everyone in Manteca yet,” Andreetta recalled.
Andreetta said his wife Treva has been a big help and understanding about the time it has taken him to help the Dell’Osso team organize the Baconfest.