Thursday, February 21, 2008

Big Pig News

This week we took a big step away from using pork raised off-farm to raising it ourselves. Trent, myself and Christian each have our own reasons why we wanted to do this -and each set of reasons are manifold and complex. Speaking for myself exclusively, I want to raise hogs because I am dead set on becoming the best charcutiere I am capable of becoming. And I have realized from day-one that the only hope I have of meeting that goal is to have the best pork to work with. Moreover, I know that the only way I have any hope of getting the best pork to work with NOW, is if Trent is in charge of raising it.

There are other reasons too.

Like Trent and Christian, I want to own the process of producing food from from "field to table" and I want to make make the farm a rich and robust source of as many different kinds of endogenously produced foods as are possible and practical. With the arrival of these fine purebred Berkshire sows, we are taking a big step in the direction of being able to enjoy a farm that can produce a well rounded cuisine.

If you are serious about cooking as a craft, don't let anyone -including yourself- fool you into thinking that you can make anything truly worth offering to someone who isn't suffering from starvation, a meal made from substandard ingredients. Every ingredient has to be the most carefully bred and raised thing you can imagine. Wild food has to carefully chosen and harvested too, otherwise the process of cooking and eating is bound to be disappointing.

I'll be posting on the progress of these beautiful animals as they make their way from the barn to the abattoir, thenceforward to the kitchen and finally, the table. Both sows are pregnant gilts (never given birth before) who we expect to deliver in one month. We are planning to raise and harvest most of the offspring and keep a few to breed. It all very sobering and very exciting.

Also shown in the slide show are three male calves and the Hendricks horses. Who, btw are slated to be bred tomorrow, I believe. If I can tear myself away from the kitchen when the veterinarian comes to do the deed, I'll take pictures.

11 comments:

Tags said...

What gorgeous animals! I wish you and Trent the best possible luck with this endeavor.

boberica said...

Bob,
Best wishes and congrats on this new adventure you all are about to embark on. Berkshires are an awesome hog on so many levels. I'd love to know what the feed plan is, ie how they'll be finished? How old will they be for slaughter?
Can't wait to see the piglets, and the product. other bob

Kevin said...

Bob,
Very cool. My preacher friend leases his acreage and the landlord has decided he doesn't want pigs on it anymore, so poor old Tim is trying to find a new location for his pigs.

Scotty said...

If I may inquire, what are you planning to feed the darlings?

Joseph Bayot said...

This all sounds so exciting. Good luck!

I was also wondering what you plan on feeding them.

Bob del Grosso said...

boberica, Scotty, Joseph

The pigs eat well. They drink liquid whey and eat a mixture of seeds and grain (no corn or soy).

We also have a few hundred pounds of "off cheese" to give them and they will get all of the good stuff that would otherwise go into the trash or compost pile.

For example, today I slopped them with a mixture of potato, onion and garlic peelings. They also got water left over from boiled potatoes, chicken skin and rendered chicken fat (skimmed from chicken stock), egg shells and a bunch of other things that taken together could make a great meal for us under circumstances more dire than under which we now live.

I'm sure I can speak for Trent and Rachel, their kids and Christian on this and say that we will do everything we can make sure these pigs are not simply well cared for but feted during their time with us.

boberica said...

So then, what does Christian eat?

Bob del Grosso said...

boberica
Dude, I'm tired; what? Where'd I screw up?

Deborah Dowd said...

This is really exciting! And very ambitious. I am looking forward to hearing about your journey all along the way! (and for my kids, we want pix of the piglets!)

Linda said...

I don't know Bob, they're all awfully cute....

Come summer, I do know that the pigs really love those mud facials....but from the looks of things, that won't be for a while...

Ed Bruske said...

Good for you Bob. Truly a noble goal and an excellent example for the rest of us. It looks like you are really taking wing. Go on with yer bad self...