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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 with excellent marbling.
To revitalize the health of our soils 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 increases pasture diversity, water retention, and promotes healthy and resilient animals. This practice is typically done with cattle and other ruminants, but we're trying it out with pigs. During the winter months we replace what they get from the pasture with haylage - hay that is baled at high moisture and left to ferment so that all the enzymes and nutrients produced from the lush grasses and legumes are captured.
Pigs really are what they eat. Common sense right? If a pig's diet contains lots of trans fats, saturated fats, and simple sugars, common in conventional diets, the resulting pork will be quite unhealthy and lacking in flavor. For this reason we are really careful about what we feed them. We choose not to feed our pigs corn or soy because there are better options out there. We replace corn with barley because it results in firmer and more flavorful fat. We replace soybean meal with flax meal because it is loaded with omega-3s and high quality fiber. A well fed pig makes for pork that is healthy to eat.
There are billions of pounds of suitable pig feed ending up in landfills across the United States every year. In the landfill it decomposes and emits methane, which has 56 times the atmospheric warming power of carbon dioxide. We are committed to reducing the amount of grain we feed to our pigs and focus more on utilizing byproducts such as over ripened vegetables, spent brewers grain, whey, and our own spent mushroom media to feed 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 far tastier and more nutritious to eat.
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.