Monday, March 3, 2008

Heavy Pigs

Wooly Pigs is currently marketing a few different pigs - heavy Berkshire hogs and young Mangalitsa pigs. Heavy pigs make superior cured products.

Europeans understand that a pig needs to be older and fatter to make great cured products. Anglo-Americans don't seem to understand that. For example, the Frenchman Stephen Reynaud wrote a book on pork. They invited him to do a "boucherie" in Australia. For some reason, they had him butcher a really small pig (70kg or 154#).

There was a nice exchange:
Local farmer Nick Chambers helps Reynaud cut the pig in half.

"How does this compare with your French pigs," asks Chambers.

"We let our pigs grow much larger to 18 months old and they weigh 200 kilograms, so about 120 kilograms dressed," he says.

I really wonder what Reynaud was thinking about the Australians and their tiny pig. I can't believe that he didn't say, "We let our pigs grow much larger to 18 months old and they weigh 200 kilograms, so about 120 kilograms dressed -- that way it is worth it to kill, process and eat the pig!"

Wooly Pigs raises heavy pigs because our customers want these pigs, and (due to our Mangalitsa herd) we can provide them with the very best heavy pigs.[1]

In this vein, Wooly Pigs is happy to announce that we just delivered 4 heavy Berkshire pigs to the following restaurants in the Seattle-area:
  • Stumbling Goat
  • Lark
  • Earth and Ocean
  • The Herbfarm
Earth and Ocean is a new client. It was great to finally deliver a pig to E&O's Adam Stevenson. The other three have purchased Berkshire and Mangalitsa pigs from us before.

The pigs were all over a year old and 420-440 lbs live. We fattened them on barley and hay, and they ran around outside for many months, increasing the meaty flavors in the pork. As the hogs got older, the fat in the pig improved, as the fat became less polyunsaturated (and rancid-prone).

One might ask, "why didn't you fatten them for 15-24 months? Wouldn't that taste better?" The simple answer: they eat too much and get too big to scald. If we can't scald them, our customers don't want them. The USDA plant that scalds doesn't take them over a certain size, so we have to kill them smaller - or else.

We are confident that these pigs will be worth the time our customers will have to spend processing them, and that their customers will be very happy with the finished product.

[1] The Mangalitsa is a breed from Europe with superior fat, famous for its excellent cured products. It has meat and fat superior to all common breeds. As Wooly Pigs has the only herd of these pigs in the Americas, we feel we can state - without being accused of puffery - that we have the capability to produce the best heavy pigs in the Americas.

1 comment:

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