Pasture-raised pigs make darn good eating!
Our son and daughter-in-law, who live on our farm, raised six Berkshire-cross pigs last year for close family members. I don’t think we’ve sat down a single time to ham, bacon, pork chops, or ribs where someone hasn’t said out loud, “this is the best pork I’ve ever had.”
Needless to say, the experiment was a success and we definitely plan to do it again!
Last year the 6-week-old wiener pigs had been sourced from a farm a couple of hours’ drive away, and connecting with the farmer proved tricky. So Jen and I were happy to learn that the farm-next-door is now raising piglets for sale.
We stopped by yesterday to have a visit with our neighbor—and visit the sows. Four litters have already been born and two more are imminent. What fun to watch the mamas and the babies outside on a lovely spring day.
Most of the pigs are Berkshires, but one sow is a Tamworth. See the center photo below, with the all-black piggies with the folded down ears? So cute!
Why raise pigs ourselves rather than buy cuts of pork from the grocery store? Why choose heritage breeds?
Heritage breeds aren’t well-suited, temperamentally, to being cooped up inside. That’s fine by us. We don’t have large farm buildings with tiny pens to lock animals up in. We prefer to give our livestock room to run and play outdoors, while providing the option of shelter from blistering sun and relentless rain.
Happy piggies enjoy their lives rooting up a pasture and digging into garden surplus and weeds tossed over the fence. Their squeals of delight put a smile on anyone’s face.
And, at the end of the season, yes, they become meat for the family table. We prefer knowing our meat. Knowing that the animals lived happy, healthy lives. That they’re not fed “agricultural byproducts.”
It is part of the circle of life. We believe that if you’re not willing to meet your meat, you shouldn’t eat it.