Thursday, March 27, 2008

Swiss Book On Mangalitsa Pig

A mature boar stares at the plate of Mangalitsa specialties.

I've got a draft of a chapter about Mangalitsa from a Swiss book. The chapter includes a lot of nice information about the Mangalitsa and how it tastes. The photos in it are really impressive. I took two and superimposed them to generate the picture at the top of this post.

Here's text from the chapter about the meat:

Pork from the woolly pig is extremely characteristic, both in aspect and in taste, the meat being dark and very marbled, that is to say that there is a network of veining made up of fat spread throughout the meat. This gives the superb fl avour to the meat. This wonderful fl avour is comparable to that of the pork that comes from the hogs that forage the oak forests of Spain and Portugal, the ham of which is currently a top favourite in fi ne eating the world over. Woolly pig pork has twice the marbling of ordinary pork.

... The fat is not only incomparable in taste but also in terms of all its organoleptic qualities; it is a very
unsaturated fat, melting at a low temperature and very light in texture, leaving a « clean » smooth feeling in the mouth. The very special properties of the fat mean that woolly pig lard can be whipped like cream, becoming stiff, very white and silky. It is a healthy type of fat, containing a larger proportion of oleic acid than ordinary lard...

Here is their flavor graph for one of the Mangalitsa dishes:

According to the graph, Mangalitsa fat is quite creamy. I agree! That's generally what people notice and comment on. And that explains why people can't get enough of Mangalitsa belly, which is almost pure fat.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Mangalitsa, Iberico, Revelatory Experiences

I've been reading the Iberico-related articles these days. I'm ignoring the ones that talk about what the stuff is or why it is special - as they often get the details wrong.

The ones I'm reading are the ones like this - the ones where people describe their responses to eating the stuff. There seem to be a few components to these articles:
  • Marvel at the cost
  • Marvel at the quality and addictiveness of the product
For me, these articles are exciting. A few quick points:
  • Mr. Oak - (Kylan Hoover -- the man who will be the producer of the highest quality Mangalitsa pork in the Western Hemisphere, is going to make some serious waves. Nobody in America is going to have such pigs - and his will be marketed in the Bay Area, the best market for such pork. For what it is worth (and it is worth a lot there), he'll be "local".
  • When I explain that Mangalitsa is similar to the Iberian pigs, people are going to know what that means (even if they don't believe me). The ones who try our stuff will hopefully become Mangalitsa converts. At some point, Mangalitsa will enter the foodie lexicon. It won't just be pig geeks talking about Mangalitsa.
  • There are two providers of Mangalitsa in the USA now. There are no USA providers of pork from similar lard-type breeds (e.g. Iberian). Mangalitsa producers have a head start. Because the two producers aren't going to cut corners, "Mangalitsa" is going to mean "super-premium".
  • More and more folks are having "revelatory" Mangalitsa experiences. The experiences parallel those of Iberico eaters. The decision to import and raise Mangalitsa is looking less and less crazy each day.
If you want to eat some Mangalitsa, please go to Monsoon in Seattle, or go buy some at the University District Farmers Market in Seattle from us.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Matthew Amster-Burton on his Notorious C.U.T.

Matthew Amster-Burton got around to trying his 5-month Mangalitsa belly and ribs.[1]

Here's his relevant remarks (with bold supplied by me):

Wooly’s Heath Putnam gave me a discounted piece of pork belly a couple weeks ago, and I finally got around to cooking it. It was a small piece, and I wanted to be semi-scientific about it. So rather than cooking the pork in chicken stock and white wine, like Matt and Rebekah, I braised it in salted water. I cooked it for about five hours, which was longer than necessary, but I had to leave it going while I picked Iris up from school. Then I took the pork out of the braising liquid and cranked the oven to 500°F. I salted and peppered the meat and crisped it up for 15 minutes, then sliced it into individual ribs. If this pork is as great as everyone says, I figured, it’ll be good with no help from wine, stock, aromatics, or spices.

It was. Iris was delighted with crispy pork ribs for snack, and so was I.

We have yet to find people who like belly who don't love our Notorious C.U.T.

You probably can't get a better pork belly than our Mangalitsa - although in the future, the best will come from California.

[1] Matt Wright bought a 7-month belly. That one probably had better flavor and fat composition, being a piece of a slightly older piggy. Mr. Amster-Burton's was from the same batch of pigs as Rebekah Denn's.

California Mangalitsa Update

I'm happy to announce that a load of Mangalitsa will be leaving Washington for a farm near Livermore, California. The purchaser isn't set up to take calls yet, so I'm withholding his contact info for now. Let's call him Mr. Oak. [He's now revealed to be Kylan Hoover -- (925)321-1210,]

This is a huge deal for Wooly Pigs: until now, we've been the only providers of Mangalitsa pork (and more generally, pork from European lard-type breeds) in the Americas. Now there will be two, and one will be in the Bay Area, one the USA's best markets for super premium food.

Of all the Californians who've contacted us about our Mangalitsa, Mr. Oak best understands the systematic approach to pork quality that we learned in Austria. By using our lard-type pigs and feeding them the best feed[1], and by controlling other important factors, Mr. Oak will produce the best-tasting pork in the USA.

In late fall 2008, Mr. Oak will have 15-month old, acorn-fattened, free-range Mangalitsa. He'll also have 9-month acorn-fattened Mangalitsa and Mangalitsa-Berkshire pigs.

If you compare the specs on Mr. Oak's 15-month Mangalitsa pigs to what they raise in Spain to produce Iberico, you'll see obvious similarities:
  • acorn-fattened (monounsaturated fats + phenols)
  • free-range (excellent muscle development and meat flavor)
  • much older and fatter hogs (better fat composition and meat flavor)
  • slaughter late-Fall after mast run out
Mr. Oak's 15-month Mangalitsa hogs will be purebred lard-type hogs, not hybrids. Hence his 15-month pigs should be better than the more economical 3/4 Iberian-Duroc hybrids the Spanish use to produce most of their Iberico.

These Mangalitsas will be at least 9-months old in November.

Due to his breed and feed advantages over all other producers, Mr. Oak will have the best pork in the USA. That includes the 9-month acorn-fattened Mangalitsa and Mangalitsa-Berkshires he'll have in November.

The people who've eaten our Mangalitsa and had the typical "revelation" response[2] have a hint of how good Mr. Oak's pork is going to be. Yet Mr. Oak's older, fatter, acorn-finished Mangalitsa will taste better than anything we've produced yet.

I'm simply relieved to put my pigs in his hands.

It could be a mistake to sell Mangalitsa to someone in the Bay Area who'd hype them (e.g. "acorn-finished Europigs!") but then cut corners or make mistakes, potentially tarnishing the Mangalitsa brand. That's a real possibility: there are producers in California with oaks who produce worse pork than our Berkshires. You can start with advantages but fail to capitalize on them.

With Mr. Oak on board, we can rest assured that there will be at least one Bay Area producer raising Mangalitsa to the highest standard.

As soon as Mr. Oak is ready, I'll be directing California customers (and those who want the very best) to him.

[1] Acorns are high in monounsaturated fatty acids, which produce superior pork fat. They are also high in phenols (tannins), which give the pork a nice flavor (just as oak barrels or oak chips make wine taste better). Acorns are the best known feed for pigs. Acorn replacement diets help but don't work perfectly.

[2] Most people respond very positively to Mangalitsa. Rebekah Denn, food editor of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, foodie Matt Wright and this culinary student have written things like:

  • I am not usually one to eat the fat off any form of meat. It tastes foul, the texture is rubbery, and it's terrible for your health. With the melting mouthfuls on this young [Mangalitsa] pig, though, I get how people can nibble at it until their lips glisten. I'll be buying that cut and making this dish the next time I want to make dinner guests swoon.
  • The result was simply un-sodding-believable. The meat was ridiculously tender, the fat was completely divine. I have honestly never tasted pork this good. Talk about a revelation.
  • I just ate my first Mangalitsa pork tonight at Monsoon, and was blown away. Truly amazing flavor and texture. It was a revelation, like Bourdain talks about. I've used pork fat in a lot of ways, and loved it, but I never really understood what my Garde Manger chef was really talking about until I tasted the fat on that pork butt.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Matt Wright on Our Notorious C.U.T., Pig Breeds

Photo apparently by Matt Wright

I got a new customer for our pork belly recently, a guy named Matt Wright.

From the beginning it was a bit different: he called from the 425 area code (we don't normally get calls from there) to talk about our pork, in advance of the Saturday market. That Saturday, he didn't flake out -- he actually showed up, asking for Mangalitsa belly.

After a little discussion, he went for our Mangalitsa spareribs, aka the Notorious C.U.T.

People who like pork belly love this cut, which includes some rib and finger meat in addition to a lot of belly. I tried to steer Matt into Mangalitsa jowls - because jowls are tastier. In the end, he went with the belly and was very satisfied:
"The result was simply un-sodding-believable. The meat was ridiculously tender, the fat was completely divine. I have honestly never tasted pork this good. Talk about a revelation."
Indeed, my own experience eating purebred Mangalitsa was a similar revelation. It wasn't near as fancy - liver dumpling soup and some scraps on soggy rice - but the meat scraps were enough to convince me that there was something incredible about Mangalitsa. A few mouthfuls and I was hooked.

Pig Breed Geekery

One interesting thing about pig breeds is that they have come into existence (and in and out of fashion) to meet various economic needs. When pigs were used to produce lard, the ability of a pig to fatten up - which is limited by physical constraints like having a good back - were crucial.[1]

Also interesting: breeds have changed over time to meet the needs of the market, while their names stay the same. The Berkshire of past was a lard-type pig. Now it is anemic in comparison. Dogs are similar: today's Irish Wolfhound is not the Irish Wolfhound that terrified the Romans - but its thought of as the same breed.

A casual consumer might think that a pig is just a pig - but obviously, if the money is in the bacon, you'll get hogs bred for producing optimal bellies. As this quote about bacon-type breeds explains:
The bacon hog must be long in order that the side of bacon for which the animal is chiefly raised may be large especially in length but if the animal is wide it indicates that the side of bacon is too thick and fat...Aside from this general difference in form the bacon hog has lighter hams and shoulders than the lard hog and the animal usually stands higher from the ground owing to its having longer legs Public School Methods
The bacon-type pig is conceived of as a life-support system for the belly. The back leg and shoulder are very small. There's relatively more belly on that pig:

Text not available
The Fundamentals of Live Stock Judging and Selection By Robert Seth Curtis

When it comes to producing a great-tasting (as opposed to just a big) pork belly, a Mangalitsa does it economically.

Getting a great-tasting pork belly from a meat-type hog like a Berkshire is inefficient and expensive.

If one just takes a young Berkshire hog, fed normal food, the belly isn't special. You have to fatten it to a great age and weight to get that great pork belly. In the process, you have to feed it a lot of food, in addition to fixing the farm equipment that massive pig destroys. Big pigs are also dangerous - as our herdsman will tell you, "Its no fun to be ran over by a 500+ lb pig in the pig shit mud!"

In contrast, a 7-month Mangalitsa is about 1/3 the weight of the year-old Berkshire. There's not much food in it, it doesn't break much equipment or hurt people - and due to its special lipogenesis, it produces fat with better mouthfeel when fed the same feed. The Iberian breeds are similar - feed them the same feed as meat-type breeds and they'll still produce better fat.[2]

[1] "The Lard Type ... The lard hog is of only medium length otherwise the weight resulting from the great amount of fat which it takes on tends to cause a weakness of the back which should be straight or slightly arched instead..." Public School Methods

[2] Please see "Body fat content, composition and distribution in Landrace and Iberian finishing pigs given ad libitum maize- and acorn-sorghummaize-based diets"

Friday, March 14, 2008

Mangalitsa At Monsoon - Comment From Customer

Monsoon - Eric Banh's restaurant has been serving Mangalitsa for about a week now.

Monsoon is the first restaurant to put Mangalitsa on the menu. Having Mangalitsa on Monsoon's menu allows us to expose people to it who might otherwise not know about it.

I got a nice email today from someone who ate there:
I just ate my first Mangalitsa pork tonight at Monsoon, and was blown away. Truly amazing flavor and texture. It was a revelation, like Bourdain talks about. I've used pork fat in a lot of ways, and loved it, but I never really understood what my Garde Manger chef was really talking about until I tasted the fat on that pork butt.

I'm about to graduate culinary school, and am working the pantry station at a restaurant called in Seattle. I look forward to buying some of your pork to work with at home, and will definitely be making a trip to the Farmer's Market this weekend.

I'm also hoping that next fall, I can buy some jowls from you to smoke for uncured bacon (I love to do my own smoking, and finally have the space for my own set up).

Really, I just wanted to know how wonderful I think your pork is.
That's very nice! My own experience of eating Mangalitsa was quite similar.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Mangalitsa-Berkshire Piglets Feeding

Two Berkshire sows and their piglets share a pen. This video shows the sows feeding their piglets.

Near the end of the video you can see a runt trying to get some food. He's making typical piglet distress noises.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

New Mangalitsa-Berkshire Piglets Fighting

We've had a few litters of Mangalitsa-Berkshire piglets, but I peeked into the creep area of these 2 or 3-day old piglets and saw them fighting. I hadn't seen that before from such young piglets.

The litter comes from Hans and one of his many females.

From looking at the litters, it is clear these guys grow faster than purebred Mangalitsa.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Hans and His American Girlfriends

The photo above shows Hans working. He's got to strain to get on top of his Berkshire girlfriends, as they are a lot bigger.

He often courts them on the hillside. When the sows are in heat, they'll help him to do his job. E.g. they'll squat a bit in a hollow, or position themselves on a downslope so that he can get on top.

There are many reasons for producing the crosses:
  • by producing Mangalitsa-Berkshire hybrids, we've got market animals that will taste much better than our Berkshires. Although people already strongly prefer our Berkshire pork (due to the way it is produced), the hybrids should taste better yet.
  • the market hogs will be smaller, which means less complaints from our processor about the size of the hogs. Also, customers buying hogs won't have to be as dedicated and skilled as the people who buy our current Speckschweine - a 150# carcass is a lot easier to work with than a 300# carcass.
  • Mangalitsa-Berkshire females allow us to rapidly increase the number of Mangalitsa-like pigs produced, by breeding them to purebred boars. That's how producers in Spain and Hungary meet the demand for lard-type pork. If there isn't demand, we'll just slaughter the females.
  • Selling neutered hybrids allows Wooly Pigs to distribute pigs with Mangalitsa traits quickly. There's less risk in the hybrids too; they aren't as different from meat-type animals as purebred lard-type animals.
The resulting piglets are cute and show some Mangalitsa traits, like the propensity to root early and often. I think that piglet in the video is very cute when it flips that rock so vigorously:

I have different feelings about the different breeds of pigs. I'm generally a bit sad to send the Mangalitsa pigs to slaughter. Even though I don't spend much time with the market animals, they really seem to have different personalities. The Berkshires are a stark contrast - they just seem like eating-machine zombie pigs - they are aggressive about feed and skittish. If you enter their area, they'll crowd you - which the Mangalitsa don't do if they figure out you don't have feed.

Different breeds of pigs differ in their personality, just as dogs do - so it will be interesting to see how the hybrid pigs behave.

Also, given that we wanted to cross the pigs, one might ask why we picked Berkshires and not some breed known for better mothering traits, like Yorkshires. The reason is that we are focused on meat quality, not efficiency. The Berkshires are the best-tasting meat-type pigs available.

In Hungary and Spain, the typical breed they cross the lard-type pigs with is a Duroc. The goal is to get quicker, cheaper growth in the market animals without ruining meat quality. The Duroc seems to be the best for that.

Hog Photos Courtesy of Seth Caswell

Seth Caswell, Executive Chef of Stumbling Goat Bistro sent us these photos of the Speckschwein we recently delivered to him. As he reported, the hog had very hard, white fat. This is on purpose -the feeding regimen ensures it. Not only is that pig very fat, but the fat is of very high quality.

My wife and I wish Seth would teach other chefs how to utilize pigs. Of all the folks we've sold to, he seems to be the best at using everything a pig offers to his advantage. Grigson is inspiring - but Seth could probably show a lot of chefs how to get started in practical way.

The hog was about 500 lbs live, which is very large compared to most hogs. One can clearly see that such a pig is very different from a typical hog.

We lost the head of this pig at slaughter due to the USDA inspector condemning it. That's an unfortunate consequence of raising the hogs in a free-range system: if the hog gets an abscess or some other medical problem, we can't treat it without terrorizing the pig (e.g. restraining it and treating it) - so we leave it be.

When we asked our fellow Austrian Mangalitsa breeders about this problem they talked about it with resignation: if the pigs run around freely, it is best to leave them alone, even if they have an abscess or some other problem. Pigs don't like to be restrained and treated - and doing so ruins the relationship between the human and the pig. It is best to do nothing and take some loss at slaughter. The longer the pig lives outside, the more likely it will get some injury.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

15 Mangalitsa Pigs Sent to Piggy Heaven Today

Wooly Pigs sent 15 Mangalitsa pigs to piggy heaven today.

If anyone is looking for wholesale Mangalitsa, now's the time to contact me. We can have pigs cut, frozen and freighted to you. Even if you aren't close to eastern Washington, we've already shown that we can deliver our exceptional pork great distances for quality-sensitive customers.

Wooly Pigs's New Client - Trump International Sonesta Beach Resort

Wooly Pigs recently sold some pork to Trump International Sonesta Beach Resort.

This is a milestone. Yes, Wooly Pigs has sold pork to a lot of well-known West Coast restaurants. But these guys are on the other side of the Rockies. Also a lot more normal folks recognize the name "Trump" than "Thomas Keller".

The background is interesting: Sonesta's Executive Chef Kurtis Jantz had to make a pork belly dish for a big event. He really wanted to impress, so he contacted us about getting pork bellies.

Although I'm obviously biased, I'd say that's a very smart move. The best material for a braised pork belly is going to be from a properly fattened hog - you want lots of flavor and the best fat quality. As best we know, other American producers aren't focused on this stuff right now - they don't have fatter, older, free-range pigs fattened on low-PUFA feed. Hence their bellies aren't as good. It is easy to make great bacon when you've got the right raw material.

Chef Jantz wanted Mangalitsa bellies (excellent choice!), but young Mangalitsa pigs don't have much of a belly on them, so we sent him some bellies from our 400-lb year-old Berkshire hogs (about 22# a belly), along with a bunch of other pork. We sampled him the Notorious C.U.T. -- a belly/rib Mangalitsa cut from our barley-fed 5-month Mangalitsa; I can't wait to hear the feedback.

Below is a photo of what they made with the belly:

As Chef Chad Galiano explains in his blog (emphasis mine):

This was one of our plates. We braised Berkshire pork belly from Heath Putnam with preserved Florida key lime. This was topped with anchovy 'wool,' and served with heirloom tomato frappe, sweet pickled bittermelon, spinach chevre cream, and hyacinth bean flowers. You can't go wrong when you start with pork this good.
On our end, once they ordered, the pressure was on - clearly they could have ordered their pork from nearly anyone. They needed us to send stuff in February, when we were snowed in. I wanted to kill fresh hogs just for them, but it wouldn't be possible. That made me nervous - I really wanted to send them the very best that I could. So I tried to dissuade them, and said I could recommend some other pork producers closer to them. But Chef Jantz insisted on our pork - so we sent them what we had.

We were able to get them pork that met their needs, which was very fortunate. It would have been awful to disappoint them, given that they'd selected us after considering all other American pork producers.

Although WA to FL is about the worst case in terms of food miles, we sent it via LTL refrigerated freight. That's quite economical.

Pig Castration - Raising Pigs "Naturally"

Castrating animals is an unfortunate aspect of farming. Essentially, the problem is that intact male animals are harder to manage, interfere with running the females and don't taste as good.

Castration involves cutting the scrotum, popping the testes out and pulling them away until they rip out. Here's a nice guide for pigs.

Castrating pigs is a big deal. It helps to consider what intact male pigs (boars) can do:
  • Compulsively mount other animals.
  • Impregnate females.
  • Fight other males for dominance, leading to injuries.
  • Damage fences to get to females
  • Attack humans more often than barrows.
  • Produce meat that stinks when cooked.
Those are all serious problems. While they are alive, boars complicate things. Once they are dead, their meat can stink to the point of being unusable.

Hence almost all male animals get castrated. If only we could engineer pigs that wouldn't have so many male offspring; we'd eliminate castration as a regular and necessary practice.

In Austria some Mangalitsa producers slaughter their male animals before they are too old and have had sex. The idea is that the animals provide usable meet if certain criteria are met - without requiring castration.

It is clear that castration is an unnatural mutilation - this sort of thing doesn't happen routinely in the wild. It is something that humans do to the animal, because we've decided that we don't like funky, fecal-smelling meat as much as meat that doesn't smell that way.

Whenever I think about castration, I wonder what people are thinking when they invent certifications like, "Certified Naturally Grown". How do you naturally castrate a piglet? It is a fundamentally unnatural process - we humans have decided to unnaturally neuter pigs, so we do it.

In general, I have a problem with terms like "naturally grown", because raising crops or livestock is fundamentally unnatural.[1] Just look at the definition of "naturally" - farming is inherently unnatural, as it involves humans bending nature to our will.

Whether it is pest mitigation, castrating pigs, or simply feeding animals (instead of having them fend for themselves), farming is unnatural. Giving pigs, who are cannibals and scavengers, a vegetarian diet is unnatural - as they eat dead stuff in the wild.

If I were to try to imagine the most "natural" hog farm, it would be something like a game preserve - as that would duplicate nature as much as possible. Yet even that would be unrealistic: if the hogs aren't there, how natural is it to dump a bunch of them in some fenced in area?

One might use terms like "non-chemical" or "non-manmade-chemical" to describe certain foods that people think of as "natural" - but such specific terms aren't anywhere as sentimental or marketable as "natural". In general, when I see terms like "certified naturally grown" or "organic", I figure it has some specific meaning, perhaps even a legal meaning - but it probably doesn't mean what I think it means.

My rule for dealing with what to eat is natural (and it is similar to the way pigs behave): ignore the labels, certifications and other unimportant details. If something smells and tastes good, eat it. If it doesn't, don't eat it.

[1] I have a similar problem with the term Certified Humane, Raised and Handled - the certification allows things that probably aren't humane - but are convenient for humans.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Mangalitsa in Seattle

We recently delivered some Mangalitsa to two Seattle establishments -- Monsoon and the Washington Athletic Club.

Executive Chef Will McNamara of the Washington Athletic Club sent in his photo of some of the Mangalitsa. His pig was a 7-month gilt (female). There's not much meat on her, but it is very good. And Mangalitsa fat simply tastes fantastic.

If you want to eat Mangalitsa right now, you'd best get over to Monsoon or the Washington Athletic Club before it all gets eaten. A 7-month pig only has a carcass around 90 lbs.

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.