Our Pigs

20160206_140223 - Jim and pigs
Taking a break with the pigs after setting up their house

Our pigs are a grand adventure for us on a regular basis, and we have found that they are as fun as any animal to have around, though often 5x the work. This is partly due to how we raise them, and partly due to how much they eat, drink and root up everything in sight!

There are many different ways to raise pigs, and the simplest is the most common commercial method of raised grate metal enclosures that can be easily hosed off, or cement pads and small spaces. This makes for a pretty low quality of life, and a more bland meat. We opt for open pens and larger enclosures with a varied seasonal diet with fruits, nuts, bugs, high quality grains and also feed. The meat is rich, darker than you would see in a typical store bought pork, and I would also offer, from a pig that had a far happier life.

Our pig selection has varied, from Landrace and a Berkshire cross, to currently including Gloucester Old Spot crossed with Large Black and also Pure Berkshire. We are learning much as we go, and hope to stick with heritage breeds as a focus, and extend from there.

Read a bit more about pigs, pork and related recipes from our blog.

Jowl Bacon and Sauteed Spinach

I do love Jowl Bacon – when ordering a pig, I highly recommend you specify some Jowl Bacon for yourself. I think the pairing of the bacon and spinach is about perfect and for this recipe, I added a bit of garlic and onion for the saute and then a bit of chicken broth to […]

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Green Shadow to the Rescue!

So, maybe not a superhero move here, but our neighbors continue to be pretty superb folks. While doing chores, my bride and I were discussing how we can help our pigs and chickens that live outdoors get their feet dry with the incessant rain we have been having. Across the street from us, our neighbor […]

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Review of pork butt/shoulder recipe

Jim posted a great article about recipes for pork shoulder.. I decided to review one of the recipes posted. Below is our home -grown pork shoulder. The directions called for 8 hours of slow roasting at 250 degrees. I rubbed celtic salt and pepper all over the roast. I chose to use my turkey roasting […]

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Homemade Suet

I wanted to create some good calorie boosters aka boredom busters for our chickens and turkeys. Jim and I decided to use the fat from our butchered pig along with various grains. I chose black oiled sunflower seeds, cracked corn, scratch grains and then filler. I found oatmeal pancake mix that had not been a […]

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Pig Cut List

In a prior post, I referenced the cut list that we were putting together as well as the source of our planning numbers. Please check that out for some background. Here is a link to our Cut List as a PDF file. This list is for our pigs. At this point, we will ask that you […]

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Lessons in Commercial Pig Butchering

This being our first year butchering our own pigs, we learned some good lessons in how to manage our expectations and also what to expect from the process. While we have purchased 1/2 pigs and steers from other farmers in the past, it was a simple agreement to the hang weight cost and then we […]

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Others peoples’ trash

We have used many items on our farm in a repurposed fashion. Large spools from a local antennae company for our goats, pallets under sheds to make relocating easier, IBC totes as shelters, spent grain from a brewery to augment our feed for all animals and junk apples off the ground to fatten our pigs. […]

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Pigs lounging in fresh hay

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Berkshire Pigs

The Berkshire swine traces back to over 300 years ago, with importation to the United States happening around 1823. “Three hundred years ago – so legend has it – the Berkshire hog was discovered by Oliver Cromwell’s army, in winter quarters at Reading, the county seat of the shire of Berks in England. After the […]

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