I came across this NPR article this morning. It’s a great description of our pigs and why we like them. It’s slow food on the hoof. And, like most slow food, it’s all the better for the wait.
We’ve sliced into the proscuitto hams we hung last fall already. They looked so good, we could’t wait! Really, proscuittos need to hang for 12-18 months, but these are really good even now. By the time Hog Harvest Days come around they will be a year old and excellent. That’s what these fat pigs excel at: cured meats. They have a lot of fat, which is what makes the curing so good. We use a feed protocol that accentuates their naturally buttery lard to make the flavor and keeping power (it won’t go rancid during the curing time) the best that can be had. Because of the quality and protocol they are pricier than the average hog. But I wouldn’t go back. I am not a big pork eater, so the pork I eat has to be good. These pigs are worth it to me. The fresh meat has fantastic color and flavor. The cured meat is rich and buttery smooth. You get what you pay for, as the saying goes.
We’ve done quite a few roasting hogs for people this summer. You’d be hard pressed to cook these pigs dry. The meat we enjoyed at my brother’s 40th birthday party last night was juicy and tender–just the right mix of fat and meat. We’re anticipating the fat hogs we’ll have for butcher this fall. We have a USDA processor who said he’ll work with us, and we can process pigs bought in quantity (such as a 1/4, 1/2, or whole hog) right here on the farm. Plus, for the Do-It-Yourselfers, we’ll be teaching people how to process and cure a hog in the Hog Harvest Days classes. You can make your own bacon and ham!
The final bonus of these pigs is figuring out what to do with the wool. They are shed out right now, but will be plenty wooly for the winter by late fall. Some folks like it for tying flies for fishing. Joe’s come up with another creative use: costumes!
Yep, thinkin’ good thoughts about hogs today!