Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Carl Blake's Victory At SF's Cochon 555

Staffan Terje won SF's Cochon 555 with a pig produced by Carl Blake. Carl calls the pig a Swabian-Hall, although it has no connection to the German breed of the same name.

Carl didn't import Swabian-Hall genetics. He's copying King Wilhelm I of W├╝rttemberg, mating lard-type pigs to European wild boars. The pig he entered into Cochon 555 was an F1 (either Meishan-EWB or EWB-Meishan, depending on who was the sire).

I called Carl to congratulate him. I jokingly asked him if the pig he'd entered into the competition was a Mangalitsa, because I'd sold him one a while back so he could see how it tasted, and compare it to his own pigs. He explained that that pig was eaten months ago.*

Although I wish Suisun Valley Farm's pig had won (a pig I bred and sold them), I was happy that Carl won, because his victory is part of the lard-type pork revolution underway in America. I am a key instigator of this movement.

Some time ago, Carl called me wanting to buy some Mangalitsa breeding stock. We never came to agreement on a price, but I did mention that he could cheaply acquire Meishan pigs, another lard-type breed. I also mentioned that the Swabian-Hall, a breed produced from Meishan pigs and European Wild Boar-derived breeds in the 1800s, contends with Mangalitsa in tasting competitions. Carl decided he'd try breeding his own Swabian-Hall, from Meishan and EWB pigs.

I explained to Carl what to feed the pigs to make them taste good, and how to do it economically. I did that because I'd like Meishan genetics to continue to be available (why), and I'd like to see people like Carl produce great food from lard-type pigs.

Someone who has eaten a lot of Mangalitsa, who attended the event, explained to me that the meat of Carl's pig tasted like Mangalitsa (a bit like this experience), while the fat didn't. The fat was a bit gristly, tougher and nastier than Mangalitsa fat. It isn't clear why. From talking to Carl, he fed them feed that should have resulted in good fat.

It is neat that Carl was able to produce a great-tasting pig with Meishan genetics and by following my instructions. Although my pig didn't win, my second favorite pig did.

* Carl said he missed that pig; it had distinguished itself by being able to catch donuts out of the air, like a dog.

No comments: