Salad Bar Pork
Have you ever walked up to a pig, only to have the pig lay down and roll over expecting a tummy rub? We have, and it makes us think we're doing something right.
Joel Salatin pioneered the term, "Salad Bar Beef." It's a great concept whereby cattle graze on pasture that is comprised of a diverse mixture of green, leafy plants. We've borrowed this idea and applied it to our hogs.
Wait... can pigs really graze like cattle? Glad you asked.
The American Mulefoot
We raise a rare heritage breed of hog, the majestic American Mulefoot. These hogs were found on most homesteads a century ago due to their hardiness, temperament, and deliciously marbled meat. Today, however, this breed has been replaced by fast growing pigs that thrive in confinement and need copious amounts of corn and soy in their diet. We're raising Mulefoots exclusively because it allows us to buck the current trend in hog farming. Mulefoots are excellent foragers and can thrive on a pasture-based diet.
Eating Like Kings
Our hogs live on pasture from day one. Yes, you heard that right... our hogs give birth on pasture and live every single moment of their life outdoors. They have a constant supply of "salad bar" - that is, they are rotated among various pastures and orchards that provide a diverse array of plant matter. In addition, we work with local produce handlers to supply our hogs with fresh fruits and vegetables that would normally be sent to the landfill. No, I'm not talking about moldy, rotten food that smells to high heaven, I'm talking about bruised or otherwise disfigured produce that doesn't look quite as good as the rest, and so it sits on the supermarket shelves, never to be taken home.
By diverting this "waste stream" into a useful source of nutrition for our hogs, we accomplish some very imporant goals:
Feed our hogs the highest quality food available (fresh produce, what's better than that?)
Eliminate our reliance on milled feeds which are often heavy in corn and soy
Reduce the quantity of food sent to landfills
FROM OUR PASTURE TO YOUR TABLE
We can't wave a magic wand and instantly send our live hog directly to your freezer, packaged nicely into chops and ham. If we could, we'd be selling magic wands, not pigs!
Instead, we rely on butchers to help make the transition from live animal to crispy bacon.
The processing of a hog takes about a week and starts in our own pasture. We don't transport our animals to the butcher, as that adds stress to the process resulting in a less-than-perfect cut of meat. We have our butcher down the animal in pasture before it knows anything is amiss.
The butcher then cleans the animal and transports it back to the butcher shop in a refrigerated trailer. The carcass is allowed to age for a short period of time to help remove residual moisture from the meat.
At this point, the butcher will contact you for cutting instructions. Yup! You get to choose how your hog is processed... how thick do you want your chops, do you prefer roasts or hams, would you like fresh pork side or cured bacon? Don't worry, if this is all foreign to you, our helpful butcher will guide you through the process.
Once the butcher has completed your order, they will contact you to make arrangements for picking up your order.
PRICING AND AVAILABILITY
$5.00 per pound, hanging weight
Deposit: $50 per half share
Kill Fee: $65
Cut & Wrap: $0.64 per pound, hanging weight
Smoke & Cure: $1.00 per pound, finished weight
*Please note the above butcher fees reflect the price we paid for our last batch of hogs and may have changed since then.
Availability for 2019
All hogs this year are now reserved. Please visit our friend's farm, naturesoldtimemeats.com, for more pork options. Ask for Mike.
PRICING AND ORDERING DETAILS... EXPLAINED
When ordering a hog, you can choose to purchase one or more half shares. A half share is simply half a hog, either the right or the left side. Hog orders must be placed before we send the animal to the butcher. In most cases, a reservation is required shortly after the hog is born (yes, we sell out that quickly!).
The deposit is $50 per half hog, with the deposit going towards the final price of your order. The deposit can be paid online using all major credit cards, or if you happen to be visiting the farm, we gladly accept cash.
Once your hog has arrived at the butcher, they will weigh it and provide us with the hanging weight. The hanging weight is used to calculate both the farm's price and the butcher's cost for the specific animal.
How does all this translate to finished meat in my freezer?
Great question, and the answer varies slightly from hog to hog, but we can provide a pretty close estimate. We strive for each half hog to have a hanging weight of 80 to 100 pounds. Once everything has been cut, wrapped, and cured, you usually take home about 70% of the hanging weight, or about 65 pounds of top notch pork.
To calculate what you'd owe given the above example, let's do some math. We'll assume you want your pork belly smoked and cured into mouth-watering bacon deliciousness; a pork belly half usually weighs about 10 pounds.
Farm's Price: $4.50 * 100 lbs=$450
Kill Fee: $32.50
Cut & Wrap: $0.64 * 100 lbs=$64
Cured Bacon: $1.00 * 10 lbs=$10
In the above example, your total cost for a half hog (one hog share) is $556.50. Extending this cost out, you're looking at about $5.56 per pound hanging weight.