Our First Blog - October Farm Update
Hello everyone and thank you for taking an interest in our products and supporting our farm! We're grateful for your belief in us in just our first year. The past six months have been a rollercoaster for us, as it likely has been for you. Going forward, we plan to blog at least once a month in addition to the videos we post on our social media channels. We hope to bring transparency to your dinner table by giving you the behind the scenes view of what it takes to bring this quality food to you.
Last week we drove 4.5 hours up to the Northwoods of Wisconsin to pick up our next group of piglets, which we reserved in June from White Bison Farm. We do extensive research and will only source pigs and other livestock from reputable farms that practice the animal care we're looking for and farming methods similar to ours. We look for piglets from parents that thrive outdoors and are birthed outdoors (aside from winter). These traits are very important if you want low maintenance livestock that don't need to be propped up with medications. Plus, we certainly don't want piglets coming from an inhumane confinement system (see farrowing crates.) Sidenote: since the pandemic began and conventional pork producers were thrown off track, there has been a flood of CAFO pigs available for sale on Craigslist and other channels. People who have bought these pigs cheaply in an effort to raise their own food or start a farm have been disappointed with the animals in many cases, which often struggle outdoors and get sick. In our eyes, that just shows how bad the industrial food system has gotten. The fact that these pigs struggle to adjust to an outdoor life is quite disappointing. We will never source our pigs from the industrial system!
Seeing White Bison Farm's outdoor farrowing (maternity ward) operation in person was a great experience. Each mama pig has her own outdoor shelter, water and fresh grass to give birth and raise her piglets. Everywhere you looked there were litters of piglets running around on grass. These pigs are able to withstand the harsh winters of northern Wisconsin so we're confident they will do the same here in Illinois. You can see more of this operation on our latest YouTube video.
While we're happy with our reliable Hampshires/Yorkshires, which came from Walsh Family Farm, this time we went with Idaho Pasture Pigs (IPPs). This newer breed is known for grass consumption and they don't root nearly as much as most other pig breeds. This trait fits our farming style because we don't want to disturb the soiI. Also, we expect the IPPs to produce exceptional pork that is good enough to serve in the very best restaurants, so we hope it will interest you as well. IPPs are a combination of three breeds: 1/2 Kune Kune (a small, slower growing lard type pig), 1/4 Berkshire (also known as Kurobuta) and 1/4 Duroc. Berkshires and Durocs are known for their fantastic meat quality and grow a little faster. We know the more common breeds can work for us, but we believe this breed will allow us to be as regenerative as possible. If these work out for us, we might continue raising them. So far, so good - we put them on short pasture grass and they immediately started munching away.
White Bison Farm is also known for, you guessed it, the rare white bison. Cool huh?
We are just two weeks away from taking our first group of pigs in for processing on October 26, which means you still have time to reserve your half or whole hog custom cut to your specifications. This is a great way to provide your family with nutrient dense, flavorful protein for months to come, at a 20 to 40 percent discount when compared to our retail cut pricing. We expect a half hog to give you 60 to 80 pounds of meat and to cost, in total, about $400-600 per half depending on your cut selection. If you're concerned about freezer storage, consider recruiting friends or family to split the order with you so you can all take advantage of the lower price. We will have a variety of cuts available in mid November, but they will cost more per pound.
It will be a bittersweet day when we send this first group of hogs off, but we're very grateful for them and their contribution to a better food system. Check out these two giving new meaning to "pigs in a blanket." They tucked themselves in under the heavy duty tarp that we use for shade (they like to take it down sometimes).
We also have about 20 free range turkeys available for Thanksgiving Turkey reservations. Place your $35 deposit and we will deliver the turkey to your home November 19-20, with plenty of time for you to prep it for Thanksgiving Day. The turkeys are 5.5 weeks old now and later this week we will let them out of their shelter to start free ranging. More to come on that very soon!
Until next time, thank you for reading and supporting us! Our animals live a good life, so you can too.