Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Watching Slaughter versus Doing It

Shane Petersen learning how to break down a carcass.

I was reading in the news that Slow Food had an event in the Bay Area where they slaughtered some animals. They were able to get 90 people to show up and pay to watch.

I think it is neat that so many people want to learn about how animals get slaughtered - but I don't see how people can learn in such a setting. There's no hands-on experience.

In contrast, when we did our Mangalitsa workshop at Woodinville's Herbfarm, the Wiesners demonstrated, and then the students did the same thing, under the supervision of the Wiesners. That allowed the students to learn how to do it.

For example, Shane Petersen and his wife Marie, Mangalitsa producers in Fairfield, California know how to fatten, kill and process their own pigs. Likewise Mark Baker, who already knew how to slaughter and butcher American-style now understands why optimizing all phases of fattening, slaughter and processing is so crucial.

Students are going to buy, slaughter and process these pigs.

Going to an event and slaughtering your own specially fattened Mangalitsa pig, under the instruction of someone like Christoph Wiesner, in the company of others who are there to kill and process their own Mangalitsa pigs, is a life-changing event.

The difference in instruction shows how Wooly Pigs and other Mangalitsa producers approach things: we don't just raise some of the world's best-tasting pigs - we have some of Europe's best instructors teach people how to turn those pigs into the tastiest food possible.

When I put this into words it sounds ridiculous - but that's exactly what Wooly Pigs and other Mangalitsa producers have accomplished. Besdies Mangalitsa producers, there's nobody producing meat of such quality in America. To my knowledge, there's nobody arranging educational events like the ones we do.

Mangalitsa producers as of April, 2009.

Of course, a lot of this has happened because I worked hard to make it happen - but as more producers fatten Mangalitsa pigs, they are helping to communicate to people what Mangalitsa pigs are, why they are so great and how to make the most of them.

Mosefund Farm, pig area visible in the back.

In particular, I'm very excited about Mosefund Farm in New Jersey. They are arranging an event like last January's only an hour outside of New York City. Short of flying to Austria during pig-killing season, I don't see how you could learn so much.

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