School’s in Session: Pastured Pork

Can you believe that this is the last week for our outdoor market season? It feels like just yesterday the leaves were fresh on the trees and we were ripe with enthusiasm for a new season. And now those same leaves are feeling weary, as are many of our volunteers and farmers. Do me a favor and come out on Sunday to tell everyone THANK YOU for a great season. For the last blog of the regular season, I invited Seth Lucas with Falling 4 Ewe farm to give me his take on Pastured Pork. 

• Environmental – Being on pasture or in the woods supports their natural physiological and behavioral adaptations. Simply put it allows for the “pigness” of the pig. This means running around, scratching their itchy bums on everything, rooting into the soil, creating mud holes, eating anything they can chomp on and equally as important having a social structure with the rest of their sounder (group of pigs). Pigs are incredibly clean and smart animals given the opportunity.

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• So Why? – While we understand that these animals will ultimately end up on our or our customers plates, the quality of life for that animal leading up to that is of the upmost importance to us and hopefully our customers. There are definitely right and wrong ways to raise pigs outdoors or indoors. But done well there is no comparison to a pig raised on forage to one raised in confinement. One thing that we love for people to do is to come out and see the animals (an invitation you probably won’t get from industrialized confinement operations). Happy animals make for better food.

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• But why does it cost so much more? – So quite often we receive the “yeah, yeah, yeah, I get what you’re doing but, why does your products cost so much?!” question, which is understandable. To answer this, it is a tad more complex than one might consider. Small scale farmers are buying grain and/or other inputs for this animals at near the same costs as any other recreational enthusiast would. Our slaughter bills are higher than a person getting their pig done by the local guy because our meat has to be inspected by the state or federal government. Plus we are available to talk with customers about our products. The last one is something that most people take for granted, if you went to the local supermarket the manager might know the company but can she tell you who the processor was? How about the farmers name? Or in what state or town that pig was grown in? What it ate? Probably not. Can the farmer tell you any of that? Absolutely.

Hear, hear, Seth! Only at the market can you talk to your farmer directly about their growing practices. At the market or on the farm – and many farmers will welcome you to visit their farms!

Don’t forget, our first winter market is on November 11 from 11 AM – 2 PM inside the Bridgeport Conference Center. Make a list for your Thanksgiving feast and come out to see us!

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Author: heidinawrocki

Gardener. Soap maker. Knitter. Chicken keeper. Farmers market junkie.

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