Kosher bacon? Really? Chaim Silverberg tasted kosher lamb bacon a few years ago and experienced a revelation.
“For about a year I made it at home for my own personal stash for me and my friends,” he said.
After a five-year taste-testing journey, Silverberg has brought his new company, Kosher Lamb Bacon, from a local deli in Pikesville to farmers markets such as Bethesda’s weekly Sunday market.
It bears the Star K hechsher, known primarily in Baltimore, where the bacon is made.
Silverberg and his brother, Hillel, have been bringing the bacon to Bethesda every Sunday for the last eight months.
“You have got to have a little chutzpah to sell kosher bacon,” Silverberg joked. At the market, they are the ones in the bacon-themed T-shirts raising eyebrows and luring potential, new customers with the quizzical line: “Kosher bacon, kosher bacon.”
Silverberg said they sell to a lot of non-Jews and regular bacon eaters; 60 percent of their products are sold to households that are “not necessarily kosher.”
The kosher bacon team heads into the kitchen after Shabbat has ended to prep for Sunday’s market.
They found a home in Bethesda thanks to Mitch Berliner, one of the co-founders of Central Farm Markets, the umbrella group for three farmers markets held weekly in Bethesda, Rockville and Fairfax.
“I always wanted to be as inclusive as possible,” said Berliner. “I wanted to have some kosher presence at the market. In our farmers market you can get all your produce and kosher products – kosher poultry and fish as well.”
Both the Silverberg brothers and Berliner aim to create a multifaceted, family-friendly experience in Bethesda, with seating to enjoy the food, live music and cooking demonstrations.
“We give them samples to try,” Silverberg said. Along with the lamb bacon, the company makes beef ribs, jerky and sauces.
Each week the kosher bacon team makes 50 pounds of the product to sell and feel they have reached capacity.
Their future goal is to “build a USDA catering production kitchen,” Silverberg said. “After we develop this for ourselves, we then hope to have it be an incubator of sorts for kosher products.”
The Silverberg brothers drive from Baltimore to sell their kosher product at the Bethesda market and hope, one day, to be everyone’s “go-to bacon.”
The Bethesda market is located at 7600 Arlington Rd. in the Bethesda Elementary School parking lot, and is open every Sunday year-round from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The Central Farm Markets’ two other locations are in Rockville and Fairfax on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Every week, leftover produce – totaling thousands of pounds – is donated to area food banks, including Manna Food Center in Maryland and Food for Others in Virginia.