In last week's newsletter I mentioned that we added 4 new piglets to the ranch; if you’ve been reading our newsletters for a while you might notice that these little piggies are not our usual breed, the Red Wattle. In previous newsletters I have extolled the virtues of the Red Wattle, but this time our normally reliable supplier didn't have any in stock.
As an alternative I invested in a quadruplet of Blue Butt pigs. The Blue Butts are typically a cross between a Hampshire (black) and a Yorkshire (white). The result is a white pig with a greyish blue rump. Both the Hampshire and the Yorkshire are well developed commercial breeds (as opposed to the Red Wattle which is a rare heritage breed). As such, it is likely that they’ll be more efficient and faster growing.
The heritage breeds tend to have more fat than the commercial breeds. This harkens back to a time when pork fat was a staple on the farm and in the kitchen. Not only was lard used for cooking, it was used for salves, and balms, leather conditioner, lubricating machinery and fuel for lamps and candles. In WWII it was even used to manufacture explosives!
There are actually pigs that are categorized as Lard Pigs. However, these have fallen out of favor as lard has been replaced with vegetable and seed oils and petroleum byproducts. Today, most producers focus on bacon pigs – pigs that have a higher meat-to-fat ratio. The Yorkshire and the Berkshire are prime examples of a bacon pig.
Of course these are broad categories and there is still plenty of fat on a bacon pig. Taste, however, is governed by how they are raised and what they eat. By hand feeding the pigs (as opposed to free access to grain) our pigs are forced to forage between meals. They wonder about the pasture eating grass, roots, nuts, and grubs. This slows their growth (and efficiency), but in my opinion, improves the flavor. We hope you agree.
$7.50 per lb. - $50 Deposit Required
Delivered the Tuesday before Thanksgiving
Fresh - never frozen
This Week's Markets
The Elgin Farmers Market is a year-round market that will remain open every Thursday. Pre-orders are encouraged.
The Taylor Farmers Market is a year-round market that will is open every Saturday. Pre-orders are encouraged. Live music most Saturday's from 11 -1.