Friday, April 29, 2011

Mother's Day Mangalitsa - Mark Dommen

Mark Dommen of One Market in San Francisco will serve a special Mother's Day menu with his cured Mangalitsa products. His restaurant has a Michelin star

He's bought pork from Heath Putnam Farms, in addition to buying most of his Mangalitsa from Suisun Valley Farm, a feeder pig and breeding stock customer of ours that also serves The French Laundry. Here's the menu description:

One Market chef Mark Dommen will offer special à la carte dishes for Mother’s Day, including rock shrimp tacos with jalapeño aioli, shiso; savory cheese doughnuts with bacon aioli; Dungeness crab cakes with saffron aioli, mizuna; house-cured Mangalitsa pork with asparagus, petite greens; Petaluma three-egg open-face omelet with squash blossoms, fresh ricotta cheese; and ahi tuna burger with mizuna and shaved fennel salad, saffron aioli... For reservations, call 415-777-5577.

Mangalitsa Ranch

Mangalitsa Ranch, a customer, has their breeding stock settled in, as you can see on their facebook page.

Their boar is pictured above. You can see more pictures here in their "arrival of the pigs" album.

Champagne celebration.

I like the idea that they celebrate the arrival of the Swallow-bellied Mangalitsas with champagne.

Mangalitsa Appearances

Here's some Mangalitsa appearances around the USA:
Sacramento California


New York

The pork was produce by feeder pig customers of Heath Putnam Farms; we bred those pigs.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Cure Organic Farm

Lardo, pancetta, saucisse sec and radishes from Cure Organic Farm.
Cliff Grassmick

Online I saw an article about a customer, Cure Organic Farm, that bought some feeder pigs a while back.

I like what they are doing.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Athlete K

Here's more info on K, a customer and athlete who eats a lot of fatty Mangalitsa products.

As I've written before, I have many fit customers that primarily buy fatty products like bacon, lard and lardo. Whether they primarily do weight training, CrossFit or as in K's case, competitive stair climbing, they are very fit and healthy people.[1]

If you live in America and someone mentions bacon or lard, you will routinely hear people say that bacon and lard:

1) Are unhealthy.
2) Make one fat.

People say this with annoying certainty.

Yet when you see people like K, especially shirtless, you realize that fatty Mangalitsa products don't necessarily make you unhealthy or fat. As K says:
When I am not training a lot a larger portion of my calories come from fat, anywhere from 35 to 60 percent on a normal day.
Obviously, if eating fat makes you fat, you'd expect K to be fat, because on his "off days" most of his calories come from fat and on his training days, he's eating something like 1000 calories of fat.

Furthermore, that's his usual diet. Day in, day out, he's eating fat, fat and more fat.

Here's K on what he eats:
I basically eat as naturally as possible and, in doing so, loosely follow a paleo type diet and try to limit "cheating" to special occasions like cake at birthdays and cookies at Christmas. Also I am an athlete so I match my food to my training which essentially means I eat more carbohydrates in the form of rice, sweet potatoes and fruit when I am doing a lot of endurance (45+ minute workouts). The two things that remain constant though are that I eat plenty of meat and fat and LOTS of green vegetables (literally pounds a week). To get an idea of things I eat below are some foods that are frequently on my grocery list.

Greens: broccoli, kale, spinach, chard, collards

Root Vegetables: carrots, beets, parsnips, sweet potatoes

Dairy[2]: plain Greek yogurt, pasture butter, cheese, heavy cream


Meat: beef (usually grass fed), bacon, lard, chicken livers, whole rotisserie chickens

Fish: whatever is fresh and wild, canned sardines (lots of these)

The fact that modern people like K are so healthy, in addition to the fact that our ancestors ate a lot of fat and weren't obese is enough to convince me that eating fat doesn't make one fat.[3]

In return for Mangalitsa products, K answered a bunch of questions about his diet and exercise routines and provided photos showing what shape he's in.

Profile of K

K is a competitive stair racer. He regularly wins. It is a very particular sport. Here's an article about stair racing.

Basically, people race up flights of stairs, as quickly as possible. The race is so long that by the time the runners finish, they'll have been in pain for a very long time. After they finish, they remain in pain for a long time, due to overheating and lactic
acid buildup in their muscles.

In K's own words:
The general stats, I am 27 years old and my current body fat percentage is around eight percent but it has been measured as low as 6.1%.

K needs strong legs for his sport. As he explains:
To those that say I am skinny and probably can't bench much, I would say that they are right. I can bench little more than my body weight but my primary goal right now is to run up buildings fast and for that having big bulky muscles is more of a burden than a benefit.

He continues:
When I am not training a lot a larger portion of my calories come from fat, anywhere from 35 to 60 percent on a normal day.

In terms of protein I eat around 160 grams per day and I generally limit carbs to about 150 grams.

Note: that's approximately half as many carbs as the typical American
Currently I never go into ketosis[4] but a few years ago when I was really focused on getting a low body fat I would limit carbs to less than 100 grams.

When I am in heavy training mode I eat the same foods but with a much heavier focus on carbs to restore glycogen right after a workout. If I had to guess it is probably about 50-25-25 carb-fat-protein ratio. This varies wildly however because I am always hungry when training a lot, eating close to 4,000 calories a day, and fatty foods are the most satiating.

My workouts always challenge me physically and mentally but they are generally short, only cycling workouts last over an hour and strength sessions never go more than 45 minutes total. Because I compete in stair races I focus primarily on legs and do full body strength exercises, basically I never isolate the arms. Below are some sample workouts:

- Warm-up, 5x5 set of front squats, as many rounds as possible in 15 mins of (20 kettle bell swings, 20 box jumps, 20 d ball slams, 20 burpees), 2,000 meters on the row machine, cool down

- Spin class (1 hour)

- Run (30 mins -- 1 hour)

- 160 floors of intervals on stairs in tall building -- add a weight vest for extra fun (45 mins)

I asked him what he'd want if he had $50 to spend on Mangalitsa. His answer:
If I had $50 to spend on Mangalitsa I would go for the fattier stuff - bacon, lard and belly. I am also a hunter and eat a fair amount of game and the fatty richness of Mangalista complements game really nicely.

1. As I've mentioned before, by eating a Mangalitsa-based diet similar to theirs, I've also lost around 30 pounds of fat, in addition to gaining strength and endurance. I'm somewhere around 16% body fat right now.

2. He's eating dairy so this isn't a "paleo" (Stone Age) diet. Dairy is from the Neolithic era.

3. If you want to get more scientific, experts like Dr. Mike Eades (a friend and Mangalitsa fan), Dr. Gary Taubes and Robb Wolf argue that animal fats are healthy.

4. Here's more info on ketosis.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Mangalitsa Dinner in Minneapolis

There's a Mangalitsa dinner in Minneapolis at Il Gatto.

If I had to guess, I'd say it is from Provenance Farm, a feeder pig customer.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Slobbering over Whipped Mangalitsa Lard

Austrian Chef Manfred Stockner with
Mangalitsa lardo and whipped Mangalitsa lard.

Ruth Reichl's recent recommendation of Manglaitsa lard reminded me of an essay I saw recently that denigrated Mangalitsa lard.

For whatever reason, that essay got copied all over the web. If you use Google's search engine to search for "slobbering over whipped Mangalitsa lard", you'll find many results.

To my knowledge, I have owned (even if I haven't finished), every single Mangalitsa pig that has gone to slaughter in the Western Hemisphere the last several years. All the whipped Mangalitsa lard consumed in the Western Hemisphere originated on one of my farms. If you've enjoyed it, it is because of things that I did.

Here's some quotes from the original essay:

You’ll find plenty of foodies slobbering over whipped Mangalitsa lard... What you’ll find little of — and perhaps this is going to start a fight, or get me flamed, but so be it — is a critical line of thinking that asks a simple question: Can foodies, can localists, can smallists feed our foodsheds? What does whipped Mangalitsa lard have to do with feeding people?...

You certainly will find plenty of foodies slobbering over whipped Mangalitsa lard. A little more than 2 years ago, in this radio interview (13:40), I explained that if whipped lard became a trend, it would be because of the Mangalitsa pig.

Whipped lard is something of a trend at high-end restaurants. It is pretty much a sure bet that if someone does a Mangalitsa pig dinner, there'll be whipped lard. The stuff is plentiful and tastes incredible.

Due to my actions, people eat whipped Mangalitsa lard, and they slobber over it.

The whipped Mangalitsa lard essay continues:

As a broadist, I know what is important to me, and since I am a reformed localist and smallist, I have a sense of what is important to them. However, I am not sure about the foodies. Sometimes I think all that really matters to them is sensuous pleasure, gastronomic hedonism, couched in the language of localism. But, no matter, it is not hard to imagine that many, even most, foodies care about more than just their palates.

I would refine this a bit. Foodies care about taste and price. That's pretty much all they care about, regardless of what they tell you.

Here's why I say that: foodies will lie to themselves about everything but taste and price. They will even make it clear that they want you to lie to them about everything else, so that they can indulge themselves without guilt.

E.g. a foodie will eat Mangalitsa products and say, "wow that was incredible. And so the pigs are all raised organically, with a personal belly scratcher and they all die happily, RIGHT?" -- all said with a hopeful look. At that moment, he just wants you to say, "yes," so he can indulge himself without guilt.

A typical hardcore organic customer will eat the sample, say, "wow that was incredible. Is it organic?" Then when you tell them no, he'll get uncomfortable, because he's just eaten something really amazing that isn't organic. He'll have a difficult choice to make at that point: he'll either choose to eat organic food that doesn't taste as good, or he'll choose to eat food that tastes the best but isn't organic.

Anyway, if you read the rest of the essay, it is clear that the guy doesn't have a problem with whipped Mangalitsa lard. He's got a problem with foodies.

That's fine with me.

When I read the essay, I was just happy that whipped Mangalitsa lard got some buzz. It means I've succeeded. Also, the way foodies are, they'll read about it, then do their research, and then decide that they want to buy some Mangalitsa.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Ruth Reichl Mentions Mangalitsa Lard Again

Ruth Reichl mentions Mangalitsa lard again in this post on the best black beans.

You can order our Mangalitsa lard here or from here.

I'm so happy that authorities like Ruth Reichl know how special Mangalitsa lard is, and tell people about it.

New Member of the Mangalitsa Posse

Mark Baker of Bakers Green Acres is a new member of the Swallow-Bellied Mangalitsa posse; he just bought some breeding stock.

He's been a member of the Mangalitsa Network for a while now.

Now that he'll have his own stock, he'll be able to do whatever he wants.

Mark is a very capable guy. I'm hoping to visit Michigan one day and eat his Mangalitsa cured products, all produced on his farm by him and his family.

Fat Pigs, Paleo Athletes

Skinny People, Very Fat Mangalitsas

Paleo customer "Z" showed up at the farmers' market again. He's five weeks into his paleo challenge. He's supposed to avoid foods that a paleolithic era (Stone Age) person wouldn't have eaten. So, for instance, no bread nor cheese nor butter - as those are from the neolithic era. Tubers (potatoes) are fine. Meat is fine, of course. Plant oils are not, and margarine is totally out.

John Besh's Mangalitsa bacon (photo by Erick Loos)

Basically, with the exception of butter and cheese , he's eating what the Hungarians in the black and white photo ate.

He looked to be in excellent health. This time he bought:
  • bacon
  • lard
  • lardo

I would have given him a deal on some meat, but he was disinterested. The reason is that calories aren't just calories - what you eat has a huge impact on satiety and happiness.

Looking at the pig, it is clear she's got a lot of bacon, fatback (for lardo) and fat for lard and very little lean meat.

She's the perfect match for this guy, another paleo customer and athlete* (let's call him "K"):

K's purchases are in line with Z's - heavy on the fat. He's bought the meat and loves it, but when he shows up, he there to buy bacon and lard.

I have many fit customers like K and Z. I asked K to take his shirt off to prove that you can eat a lot of animal fat and not look like a Mangalitsa.

Please guess what he eats and how he trains. Post in the comments. I will reveal the details later.

* His sport is leg-heavy. He's shirtless to show you how lean he is.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Serious Pie

Pizza at Serious Pie. Photo by Aubrey Bach

The Seattle-focused blog Yay Today! has a post about Serious Pie's happy hour.

Some of Serious Pie's pizzas are topped with cured Mangalitsa products. You can order those during happy our or their regular hours.

The pizzas I know are clams and pancetta and soft egg and guanciale. My favorite is the guanciale. It is amazing. Another thing that's amazing: how little Mangalitsa guanciale it takes to make something really tasty.

It is great to be able to walk into a restaurant and eat my own Mangalitsa pizza. Just saying, "Mangalitsa pizza" is fun.

If you go during Happy Hour, you can get small pizzas at a bargain price, along with cheap drinks.

If you are a Mangalitsa fanatic, you can ask them to bring you a sampler plate of their Mangalitsa products. They may or may not oblige - but you can always ask.

Monday, April 11, 2011

John Besh's Mangalitsa Pigs

Here's La Provence's Executive Chef Erick Loos IV with John Besh's new pigs.

Shown here are photos of the feeders. Most are small and very cute.

This year they'll be participating in Cochon 555. They'll be finishing their own pig. I think this is the first time that a restaurant & farm has finished its own pig and competed with it in Cochon 555.

In addition to the feeders, the got some breeding stock (not shown).

I had a funny talk with Erick. They recently slaughtered seven Mangalitsa pigs, to clear out space for the new pigs. He got an astounding 35 gallons of leaf lard. It is a ridiculous amount of lard.

I jokingly said he could always make some soap. He said now he understood why I'd been working so hard to get them using Mangalitsa lard. I mentioned I'd seen someone saying fries made with Mangalitsa lard are the best. We laughed a lot.

Things have changed quite a bit now; now that they are committed to Mangalitsa pigs, they'll be figuring out ways to use that lard. Before it was all on me to figure out what to do with that stuff; it is nice to share the heavy burden of Mangalitsa lard.

He said that Alon Shaya, Executive Chef at Domenica, is going to fill his fryer up with Mangalitsa lard. Everyone that comes in the door gets some fried pizza dough. At least for a while, it will be fried in Mangalitsa lard. When they run out, we've certainly got more for them.

My expectation is that the Besh Restaurant Group and Revival Market will do a lot in the next years to position Mangalitsa lard as a superior cooking fat.

The Heavy

Tom Byrne, the artist who designed our new logo, will be serving our Mangalitsa at his coming opening.

Tom and I have a lot in common, including a love of film noir. Here's a video about his work:

"THE HEAVY" A Hard Boiled Sculpture in plaster. Inspired by Film Noir movies of the 40's and 50's, James Ellroy's AMERICAN TABLOID and Frank Miller's SIN CITY. See it in person at the Skyline College Gallery, San Bruno, CA April 18 - May 12. 2011

Friday, April 8, 2011

MMA & Boars

Franz, a Swallow-Bellied Mangalitsa boar

I remember reading a while ago about MMA and cauliflower ear. Men fight and traumatize their ears. The results are distinctive: ugly and misshapen ears.

Science has shown that scars from fighting increase the attractiveness of men to women for short term relationships. I've heard that in Japan and Brazil (where guys grapple a lot), cauliflower ear is more common than here and than there's a sizable group of women who think that men with cauliflower ear are attractive.

Unlike pigs, humans strategize. In the past, men purposefully scarred themselves in dueling clubs to increase their attractiveness to women. It worked. These days, some grapplers purposefully avoid treating their ears, so that they get cauliflower ear. If you read the New York Times article on it, it is clear that some guys are just itching to have cauliflower ear.

Brad Pitt in "Fight Club"

With pigs, relationships are always short term. Pig breeders know that sows will stand quicker for scarred up boars that look awful than younger, prettier boars.

I find this stuff fascinating.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Revival Meats and Their Mangalitsa in the News

I saw these mentions of Revival Meats and their Mangalitsa pork (which they produced from pigs they bought from Heath Putnam Farms) in the news today:

A review of Foreign & Domestic, an Austin restaurant:
We are excited to see Revival Meats' famed Mangalitsa pork on the menu of this small, low-profile/high-energy restaurant... we tackle that Mangalitsa pork dish. It's an astonishment: hugely rich roasted pork ringed by crispy chicken livers, dried fruits, small clumps of oats (yes, oats) and a drizzle of vanilla-scented black butter...
Food and Wine declares Revival Market Houston's best new market:
Sandwich to try: Revival Dog, a Mangalitsa hot dog served on a pretzel bun and topped with green tomato relish.
As I wrote a bit ago, I'm very happy that Revival Market is open. It guarantees that at least somewhere in the USA, you can walk in and buy some Mangalitsa.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Dinner was 500g of mangalitsa scraps (cooked sous vide) and some kimchi.

I'm doing intermittent fasting - I eat my food within an 8-hour window.* I'm not eating a lot of calories per day, but I am eating them pretty much all at once.

In the past, most humans probably ate this way. Having constant access to food, particularly carbs, is a new thing for most of humanity.

It is fun to eat a lot of Mangalitsa in one meal. It is actually hard to put that much meat down in a sitting. It is a lot more fun to eat a lot of meat at once than to nibble throughout the day.

* I'm also doing weight training, in an attempt to avoid losing muscle while reducing my body fat.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Joey Letchinger's Mangalitsa Skirts

Chef Joey Letchinger recently called me to buy some cheeks.

He was looking for something to serve to the investors in his new restaurant. He'd called a few of our distributors and not been able to get service.

I love that when guys need to really impress people, they want to use our Mangalitsa. It is unfortunate when, for one reason or another, our distributors aren't able to serve them and a customer has to call me personally - but I always try to be helpful.

I explained that supplies of cheeks are tight, but that we could get him skirts, if he called our processor directly and ordered them (from Pam).

Skirts are the diaphragm muscle. They get used constantly, so the meat is red and flavorful. It is a little more fatty than the "cheeks" (more correctly "jaw muscles" aka "masseter"), which are similarly red and flavorful.

Skirts are a funny cut. On a pig, they make up a very small fraction of the carcass. We can probably serve one or two chefs at the most. My job is to find a chef who will buy them and appreciate them.

Apparently the skirts were a success. Joey, despite being very busy, was kind enough to send me an email:


... After our discussion, I chose to use the Mangalitsa Skirts. They were truly divine and unmatched by anything I have ever had. I used them to make a sous-vide and seared Mangalitsa skirt on top of Fried lentils garnished with micro bulls blood and micro red mustard cress, it was all sauced with a mustard and chinese five spice sauce. Truly divine, I cannot wait to place my next order.

Joey Letchinger

It is nice when people trust me and things work out well.

Yet More Paleo Customers

I had yet more paleo customers at the farmers' market today.

One bought eight pounds of lard and some lardo. He has lost something like 30 pounds of fat in a few months by eating vegetables, meat and animal fats and doing some resistance training. This is similar to my own story.*

Also, "Z" showed up again. He's a serious CrossFitter with something like 12% body fat. He wanted more lardo and bacon.

I explained that I'll give him a tub of lard if he'll give me a photo of him with his shirt off. I said he's welcome to hide his face if he's shy.

He said he's in the middle of a challenge (eating paleo for something like 6 weeks), so he doesn't want to provide a photo. This is the typical sort of perfectionism you see from CrossFitters - e.g. the kind of guy who is afraid that he needs to cut down on his nut intake.

I said I'd give him one tub of lard for the mid-challenge photo now and one or more tubs of lard for his post-challenge photo. I got the feeling he was very tempted by the offer. Basically, he needs the lard to complete his paleo challenge. If he doesn't eat the fat, he won't survive. By merely submitting a picture he can save $16. We'll see if he comes through.

It all sounds ridiculous, but it is very important to show people that some people, in fantastic condition, are getting around 80% or so of their calories via animal fats.

* I'm at about 16% body fat right now. I'm trying to cut down a bit more, at which point I'm hoping to share some photos of me and other paleo dieters.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Mangalitsa Fan Mark Dommen of San Francisco's One Market

Mark Dommen, proudly wearing our shirt.

Above is a photo of One Market's chef, Mark Dommen, proudly wearing a Heath Putnam Farms shirt.

Mark is one of the top chefs in the USA. He's a Mangalitsa fan. He normally buys pigs from Suisun Valley Farm, one of my feeder pig and breeding stock customers. When they can't satisfy his need for Mangalitsa, we help fill in the gaps.

Why is Mark so happy wearing the shirt?

I didn't ask him, so I don't know. But I suspect it has something to do with the quality of Mangalitsa. Basically, we've got the best, and Mark understands that in a visceral way.

I think he also appreciates that when we decided to "art-up" and get some professional art, we went with a world-class artist, Tom Byrne, as explained here. As another professional artist said:
Tom is really a true artist and could probably sculpt a masterwork out of pig poop.
I really couldn't have said it better.

If you are looking at the shirt, wondering why it is the color it is, I suggest you read this and then google the term "Habsburg yellow".

We know that most of our customers (white guys) don't look as great in a light-colored shirt as Mark Dommen does. But we make our shirts the color we do because "Habsburg Yellow" means "Habsburg Yellow" and not "hipster black". We raise a breed of pigs that is essentially unchanged from 1833 until now. Black T-shirts may be fashionable now, but Habsburg yellow has been Habsburg yellow since 1686. We feel that you have to preserve some traditions, even if it means forgoing mass appeal.