We raise several breeds of heritage and endangered hogs including Berkshire, Red Wattle and Tamworth to resemble the old-world characteristics of hardiness, marbling and slow growth. These qualities make for deeper, richer flavors and robust constitution.
To revitalize the health of our soil and to ensure the health and happiness of our animals we practice high density mob-grazing techniques to raise our hogs. This practice mimics the predator-prey relationship in wild ecosystems by keeping the animals relatively close together (in the wild to protect themselves from predation), but moving them frequently. This creates a situation that favors pasture diversity and water retention in addition to plant and animal health. This practice is typically done with cattle and other ruminants, but we're trying it out with pigs. During the winter, we move our pigs to shelter and give haylage - hay baled at high moisture and allowed to lacto ferment.
The healthfulness of pork is directly related what the pigs eat. If a pig's diet consists of saturated fats, oils, and sugars - common in conventional diets, the resulting pork will be riddled with them. Common sense, right? We choose not to feed our pigs corn or soy because there are better options out there. We replace corn with barley because it produces firmer and more flavorful fat. We replace soybean meal with flax meal because it is loaded with Omega-3s and high quality fiber.
There are billions of pounds of suitable pig food ending up in landfills across the United States every year. In the landfall it decomposes and emits methane, which is 56 times the atmospheric warming power of carbon dioxide (see source). We are committed to reducing the amount of grain we feed to our pigs and focus more on utilizing bi-products such as over ripened vegetables, spent brewers grain, whey, and our own spent mushroom media to feed to our pigs. In addition to the many positive environmental implications of reducing our grain consumption and increasing the amount of leftovers we feed the pigs, the diversity of this diet produces pork that is tastier and more nutritious to eat. In addition to the variety of things we feed our hogs, perhaps the most important ingredient to raising fantastic pork is lots of love.
View of Pig Central, where our pigs have access to shade, wallow, feed, and water. From here we open up new areas of the pasture for them to graze, play, and root.
Michelle the sow and her new litter of piglets.