Friday, July 31, 2009

Photo Gallery of Mosefund's Fair Pigs

There's a photo gallery of Mosefund's fair pigs from the New Jersey Herald.

They make it clear that Mangalitsa pigs have been bred for things like fattening ability, good legs, hardy constitution and so on - not looks.

New York Times on Bock Bisztro and Mangalitsa

New York times on places to eat in Hungary. I'm happy to see Hungary getting some respect for its excellent food:

EAT From its woolly mangalitsa hogs to its unusual spirits and liqueurs, Hungary has some of the best culinary resources in Central and Eastern Europe. Sample the gamut at the excellent Bock Bisztro (Erzsebet korut 43-49; 36-1-321-0340;, a restaurant operated by Jozsef Bock, a leading vintner. Start off with mangalitsa lard with cracklings and fresh chives as a topping for rustic sourdough bread, order Mr. Bock’s spicy kekfrankos, a hearty red wine, then move on to Old World treats like slow-roasted ox cheeks, suckling pig in breadcrumbs or air-cured mangalitsa ham. Cost: For two, two courses with wine comes to about 16,000 forints, or about $80 at 196 forints to the dollar.
I've written about Bock Bisztro and other nice places to eat in Hungary before. You can see photos of Bock Bisztro here.

More on Acorn Harvesting

Michael Clampffer and Mark Baker told me about this acorn harvesting equipment (a topic I mentioned previously). From the bag-a-nut website:
Invented and manufactured here in the United States since 1989, Bag-A-Nut is a unique piece of farm equipment that lets you to walk normally as you harvest and pick nuts, pecans, golf balls, shell casings, and many other small objects.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Mangalitsa Pigs in Britain, A New Mangalitsa Farm

Another Mangalitsa breeding operation

If you look at what's going on with Mangalitsa pigs in Britain, you'll see articles like this one:
Unusual looking woolly pigs are among new arrivals at a South Yorkshire visitors' farm... Farm manager Robert Nicholson said: "The Mangalitza pigs are a great addition to our farm because they are so unusual to look at and have a curly coat that is almost like a sheep fleece.

I think it is great that they want to keep Mangalitsa pigs. If they developed a market for the meat, there might be more people keeping them, because it would pay to keep more pigs.

A nice Mangalitsa boar - with big tusks.

Wooly Pigs just started up a third Mangalitsa breeding operation in the Midwest - run by another pig breeding specialist.

The pigs are a great addition to his farm because they are paying his bills. The fact that they have a curly coat and look a bit like a sheep is interesting - but if they didn't pay the bills, he'd be too busy looking for work (and there's not really any work for pig-breeders these days) to appreciate their curious coats.

Wild Boar from "Harris on the Pig"

As Farmer #1 says, Mangalitsa pigs are the right pigs for him, because they are paying the bills.

I'm very excited about getting a second professional pig-breeder producing Mangalitsa. It is a big step forward.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Iberico/Mangalitsa Scandal in Spain

There's a televised expose of the fraud in the Iberico market in Spain. Here is the info from the TV station about the expose (translation).

The mass media has finally covered the substitution of Mangalitsa for Iberico. E.g. curing a leg of Mangalitsa and calling it a jamon iberico. I've known about this a long time.

This fraud is possible because Mangalitsa is so similar (if anything a bit tastier) than Iberico that experts can't look at a carcass and say that a Mangalitsa carcass isn't Iberico. As European chefs have told me: Mangalitsa and Iberico perform equally in the kitchen.

Of course, it is cheaper to produce Mangalitsa pigs in Hungary than it is to produce Iberico in Spain, where labor and real estate cost so much more.

In the end, I hope this leads to more consumer acceptance of products like Monte Nevado's mangalitsa products.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Mosefund's Funny-looking Pig, Restaurant Latour

Tablehopping with Rosie mentions the Elements dinner in Princeton, which is using a pig from Mosefund Farm.

What an odd-looking pig. It looks dramatic with its open mouth. And it looks really fat too. Amazing that those feet can hold all that fat off the ground.

Also, I saw that Restaurant Latour used some Mangalitsa pork (from Mosefund) at the Summit Wine and Food Festival. That's neat. I'm very happy to see Mangalitsa appearing at special events on the East Coast.

"Mangalica" Slaughter in Hungary

There's a Dutch page showing a disznótor. That's a traditional slaughter of a Mangalitsa pig.

One thing I like about such events is that they remind people that meat comes from living creatures. Unless you eat scavenge and eat things like roadkill, you have to deliberately kill animals in order to get their meat.

I think the more people think about the necessity of deliberately slaughtering animals, the better it is for people like me who sell the best-tasting meat. I have often reflected, while eating Mangalitsa, "I would so totally kill a Mangalitsa to get its meat." And I know how cute they are. Everyone who raises them knows how cute they are - and how great they taste.

Mark Baker's Mangalitsa

Mark Baker's wife put up a post about a pig they killed recently, with photos. You can see that even their young pigs are quite fat.

Monday, July 27, 2009

A pig's day - Hog Ties

I was reading "Hog Ties" and came across an interesting bit about pigs.

When humans aren't around, pigs spend 95% of the time lying down, because there's no reason to get up. They've got food and water. If they've been neutered, they have no interesting in mating other pigs. There's just no reason to get up.

Another neat bit: pigs train humans to come in an clean their feeders, so they can "play" with the humans.

Mangalitsa on the Web

I saw two new mentions of Mangalitsa on the web today: Mangalitsa lard and the dinner at Elements in Princeton, NJ:
Mosefund Farm is looking to change that. An equestrian facility in northwestern New Jersey with a seriously bacon-loving owner, Mosefund purchased 80 Mangalitsa pigs this spring, and they are ready for slaughter. Two of the pigs were promised to Princeton's Elements restaurant; one dedicated to charcuterie, the other for fresh pork preparations. On Monday, August 10th the results of the Mangalitsa bounty will be on full display when Elements turns the restaurant over to a communally-seated, 9-course Mangalitsa pig tasting menu. And if you still haven't had your fill, you can reserve a spot at Mosefund Farm's Pigstock 2010, a 3-day hands-on workshop that will teach you to slaughter, eviscerate, butcher, and cure your own Mangalitsa, complete with optional half or whole pig.
Of course, the picture they show, of some cured meat on a plate, looks nothing like Mangalitsa - but that's understandable, given how hard cured Mangalitsa is to come by in the USA. Here's some photos of the real deal.

I think it is great to see more mention of the pig-killing instruction at Mosefund next January. In terms of culinary instruction open to the public, that's got to be one of 2010's most educational and entertaining events.

Acorn Harvesting

A number of Mangalitsa producers are interested in harvesting acorns and feeding them to their Mangalitsa pigs.

Something similar happens in Eurasia - people harvest acorns in Turkey and bring them to Spain, where they are fed to Iberico pigs to produce special pork which is eventually made into cured products.

Pecan harvesting equipment and methods might be useful in picking up acorns. Here's something on how to harvest pecans. Here's used pecan equipment.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Pig Destruction

Bruce King has nice photos showing the destruction pigs can cause in a greenhouse.

Ugly Piglet

Piglets are usually cute. Shane Petersen has an example of a ugly piglet. It takes a lot of work to get pigs to look nice for photos.

How animals look are really important to humans. A lot of breeds look the way they do because humans have culled the ugly ones for many generations.

Wooly Pigs breeds pigs that eat well. We don't care how they look. Mangalitsa crosses (75%) look heterogenous and are a bit uglier than the purebreds. But they taste great.

When people me that Mangalitsa pigs are the ugliest pigs they've seen, I tell them they are the best-tasting. That's backed by empirical results.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Pig Gallery, Pig Fashion

Swallow-belly Mangalitsa sow.

There's a pig gallery that shows the Swallow-Bellied, Red and Blonde Mangalitsa pigs. They are different breeds, created by upgrading.

People care a lot about how pigs look, not just how they taste. It isn't enough for them to produce the right sort of pork. Pigs have been heavily selected for looks, just like dogs. It isn't too hard to see how that would happen: pig breeders are good at producing the kinds of pigs that people want.

One breeder told me that a few years ago, one could get a big premium for a pig so lean and muscular that it had a visible groove down its back. This year, pretty much every kid at the county fair had such a pig. There's no premium for them anymore.

In this way, the livestock business is like fashion. Historically, scientific farmers (aka "eggheads") have been responsible for starting and promoting destructive fads and crazes in farming.

Red Mangalitsa Pigs in Hungary

There's a gallery on the web showing very fat Mangalitsa pigs, from the Mangold company.

There's a tremendous amount of calories stored in those pigs.
Old photo from

In the background, you can see the farm they are heading to.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Bakers Green Acres Pig Fun

Bakers Green Acres has some photos of their pigs on their blog.

I wish they had higher resolution photos, so I could see more detail.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Elements Dinner Advertising

I really like the advertising for the Elements Mangalitsa dinner.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Fresh Iberico Pork - pictures

Iberico Loin

I saw a blog post, with pictures, of the fresh iberico pork. I mentioned this recently.

I understand that Bakers Green Acres will probably finish some of their purebred Mangalitsa pigs on acorns, as will Harry Cope in Missouri, Shane Petersen, and of course, Kylan Hoover (who has already done it for The French Laundry).

Mangalitsa loin

It will be interesting to hear how America's Mangalitsa pork (from the different producers) compares to Spain's Iberico (from Fermin). My bet is that Fermin's stuff won't be as good, because they are probably using leaner genetics.

Although Chef Stockner says that Iberico and Mangalitsa are basically the same (in the kitchen), he says that in Vienna, where they can order from multiple Iberico sources and multiple Mangalitsa sources. In the USA, you've only got Fermin (and they are no doubt skimming). I think the quality and price will be better when there are multiple producers.

Here's info on how Spanish companies produce Iberico.

Dusted Valley's Pigs on Facebook

Andrae Bopp of Dusted Valley emailed me recently, and it made me wonder how their pigs are. I was happy to see they've got pictures of their Mangalitsa pigs on Facebook.

I'm guessing they took those photos shortly after they got the pigs.

Wooly Pigs Delivers Mangalitsa Feeder Pigs to California

Wooly Pigs delivers a truckload of purebred Mangalitsa pigs.

Wooly Pigs just delivered purebred Mangalitsa feeder pigs to Suisun Valley Farm. The contact at the farm is Shane Petersen at or call (707) 815-0039. I wrote about them a while back.

Wooly Pigs supplies a variety of farms, across the USA, with Mangalitsa feeder pigs.

Shane Petersen and Mangalitsas

Suisun Valley Farm is the second farm in California to fatten Mangalitsa pigs. The first was Red Mountain Farm, who supplied The French Laundry with some of the highest quality fresh meat and fat ever sold in the USA.

I suspect Suisun Valley Farm will fatten some of their pigs on acorns, given the tremendous numbers of oaks in the region. The photo above shows some oaks, in addition to pigs at a water station.

Shane said the pigs came off the truck and started doing piggy things. That's how they manage their body temperature.

The pigs also ate.

Shane's pigs have an unheated shed for shelter from the elements.

He's got a shade structure:

The pigs have a personal attendant:

Mosefund Goes to Fair

Mangalitsa at a fair in Lancashire.

Mosefund is exhibiting at the state fair.

It will be interesting to see if they get more coverage. Mangalitsa pigs photograph well - even if the swallow-bellied ones aren't as cute as the blondes.

Mangalitsa Belly - Kavin Du

Kavin Du has a recipe, with pictures, showing a braised Mangalitsa belly.

When ready to eat, slice them half inch think and put them in microwave for 10 seconds. At this point you should see the fat just starting to ooze out of the warm belly, giving it a nice shiny glaze. biting into it, the gelatinous skin give a tiny bit of resistance, finally letting your teeth sink in. The fat is silky smooth. Then all of a sudden the entire piece melts in your mouth into this intense flavor that’s every bit as good as fresh seared foie gras but without the organ after taste. I served it with a bowl of steamed rice and Chinese mustard green. When the belly is gone, my rice is coated with the same flavorful fat that lets me savor for the remaining of my meal.

That pig he ate was bred by Wooly Pigs and fattened and sold by Mosefund. Of course, we told them how to fatten those pigs for maximum flavor - but they are the ones who did the work.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Mangalica Farm - Somewhere in Central Europe

I found some photos on Picasa of a Mangalitsa farm. The photos start here. You can click the right arrow and view all of them.

I like the photo above - you've got the man's eyes and the pigs eye's lined up - they both are looking at the photographer. That blond pig is very cute!

It looks like they farrow indoors with pens. The pens look old and hard to keep clean. That sow is standing up, ready to bite.

You can see in this next photo the pigs have a hole allowing them to get away from their dam (aka "mother") - their greatest danger. You can put particularly rich food in that extra space and only the pigs can eat it.

One thing that's clear from the photo is that the little pigs run around very quickly.

As this next photo shows, walls don't have to be high to contain pigs.

I don't know what sort of stalls they are using in this next photo. You might think it was gestation stalls, but if so, why all the straw? That will just gum up the manure system. I'm guessing they have some special feeding stations for the sows. It looks like they've got a row of 30 of them or so.

It seems clear to me, from looking at it, that they've a pretty big farm, dedicated entirely to Mangalitsa. It doesn't look anywhere near as fancy as the intensive Iberico farms, but they might be competitive if their staff is on top of things.

Iberico de Bellota Fresh Pork Available in the USA

This is big news - Iberico de bellota fresh pork available in the USA.

It will be interesting to see how this compares with the Mangalitsa produced in America. Here's info on what they are selling and at what prices:
For retail customers, Wagshal's Market is offering Iberico de Bellota boneless loin roasts or chops ($29.99/lb.), bone-in loin roasts or chops ($27.99/lb.) and baby back ribs ($23.99/lb.). Customers outside of the Washington, D.C. area can call 202-363-0777 for Wagshal's mail order packages.

Kansas Mangalitsa - Tecumseh Creek Vineyards - Mike Shields

Mike Shields of Jefferson County, KS just picked up some Mangalitsa feeder pigs. He's got a winery, Tecumseh Creek Vineyards. He's the first and only producers of Mangalitsa pigs in Kansas.

The Mangalitsa pig isn't just the "wine dinner" (special event pig), it is also the winery pig - the pig that winery owners and viticulturalists raise. Whether it is viticulture specialists like Chris Banek, wineries like Dusted Valley or the famous people like Christophe Baron, when wine people want to raise the best-tasting pigs possible, they choose Wooly Pigs brand Mangalitsa pigs.

So far, they all seem to want to raise big fat pigs and make cured products out of them.

I suspect the appeal has to do with the fact that people who make wine use things like genetics, chemistry and time to produce the best wine, the same with pigs and their products.

Mike is amazing. He was recently in Spain, so he went all over, trying to learn as much as he could about the Lampino (the Iberian Black breed the most similar to the Mangalitsa). According to what he learned in Spain and in books, the Lampino was used as foundation stock for some of the leaner, quicker-growing Iberico varieties - but the Lampino itself is one the way out (a bit like the Meishan).

Mangalitsa Producers

Supposedly, the Lampino is only being bred by one guy, semi-professionally. That's not good: one farm can't normally afford to keep enough boars to preserve enough genetic diversity to maintain a breed. If the herdsman gets sick, has a fire that ruins his records or some other disaster strikes, that can be it.

A more robust model is that of Olmos es Toth. They have enough revenue to support a professional breeding program.

The farm where the pigs will finish - Stonefence Farm

I'm often surprised at how much passion Mangalitsa pigs arouse in people - whether it is people eating them, raising them, processing them, etc. When I got into this, I figured that people would want to eat them, but it never occurred to me that a good chunk of the people casually fattening and processing pigs would be wine industry people.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Farm #1 - more photos

Here's more photos of farm #1.

The herdsman is a former independent hog breeder with approximately 40 years hog experience. During his previous career, he produced many award-winning boars. His main goal is to improving the reproductive traits of his Mangalitsa herd.

Live births and pigs weaned is substantially above the average of Mangalitsa breeders, worldwide.

Herdsman and wife.

Sows gestate on pasture.

Herdsman watching sows

Here's a typical Mangalitsa boar, foaming at the mouth. They often look ugly - hair rubbed, tough skin, all around ratty appearance.

Typical looking Mangalitsa boar.

Here's the ugliest Mangalitsa boar I ever saw. Michael Clampffer took this photo on Christoph Wiesner's farm. The boar looks like he's abusing the waterer.

Christoph's boar

I think these sows are drying up after having been weaned.

These look to be gestating.

Here's some pigs. They'll be fattened and slaughtered, likely this Fall: