Yes, we’re still buried in snow – Click image for larger panorama.
I’ve just updated our product information Pork Page. Feedback, corrections, sharp eyes for typos all appreciated.
If you or someone you know is interested in getting a box of pork butchered in our own on-farm butcher shop then let me know! Sampler boxes, whole pigs, half pigs and quarter pigs all available weekly. See the Pork Page for details.
Outdoors: 34°F/30°F Overcase, 3″ Snow
Tiny Cottage: 57°F/54°F
Daily Spark: “Be careful of the tool you sharpen” I sometimes say. Some people hear that as to be cautious of the choice and other the care of the object.
I see the wrapped bales in the picture. Do you feed baleage/haylege to your pigs?
We have the hay dried to about 25% moisture content. Wrapping makes it so we don’t have to depend on covered storage and it causes the hay to ferment some improving digestibility. We further this through feeding in deep bedding packs that the pigs eat down.
Nice to see that you are back. :-)
I think you have posted this info before….but as a consumer, beyond the obvious things about how animals are raised/fed, what should we be looking for when deciding amongst meat CSAs? My wife and I have been looking at this topic off and on for a while and we are thinking about signing up for one and possibly splitting it amongst us and a couple other relatives. I see a range of things from various farms in the DC area, from “a box of cuts” to quarter/half/whole cow. Do I want to look at cut sheets? If I go larger animal am I asking about how it is packaged, if I can get more bones for stock than organ meats, etc?
Would be interested to hear this from your side of the coin and how you work out these various questions.
How much you get back of the whole animal depends primarily on the slaughterhouse and their HACCP program which is their written food safety plan filed with the USDA.
Whole muscle, fat and bones come through slaughter. Some organs like heart, kidney and liver as well but other organs like guts, spleen, lungs and such are not routinely saved and you may not be able to get them if the plant doesn’t already have a HACCP program for them. With sheep, goats and cattle the skins, head, tail and feet also don’t go to the consumer.
With pigs if they are skinned you lose those things but if they are scald & scraped then you are able to get the head, tail, trotters (feet) and skin. We do the scald & scrape as keeping the skin on the carcass makes it so fat isn’t lost and makes for higher quality meat since the skin protects the fat and meat during hanging time. Also, the skin is edible on pigs.
Most butcher shops don’t chop the bones but I do as that makes it easier to get the marrow when making soup stock. Ask them to cut the bones and they’ll probably do it.
The choice of a box, quarter, half or whole animal is primarily a matter of cost efficiency and storage. The more you buy the lower the price per pound as a general rule. Thus buying the whole pig or cow gets your the best possible pricing. That might be too much for one family so splitting it with friends is a very good option.
What ever butcher you’re working with will have their own cut sheet. You can see ours on our Lit Page. If you’re splitting an order with other people then present one unified cut sheet to the farmer/butcher. It is useful for you to tell them that you’re doing a split between two families for example.
I was just thinking how long it had been since you’d posted!
We had a pig stay at our place overnight recently. A person was trying to take her to slaughter in a flimsy home-built box of osb and 2×4. Unsurprisingly, the 250lb creature busted it open and they happened to pull onto our property to deal with it.
There’s a lot more shenanigans that went on, but it was interesting getting to observe a pig first hand. I’m thinking of getting one just for its ability to till. We already rotate our chickens around the place, seems like goats for brush > pigs for tilling > chickens for smoothing > planting could be a handy system. I’m not sure we have enough space for breeding them, but it is tempting!
Anyways, I am glad you are back!
Remember, you put the pig in the box after you slaughter it!
If you want them specifically so they will turn up soil, and you don’t want to breed them, just get females and no males. The females grow more slowly, but aren’t as likely to get aggressive. Cut males could also work, but you might pay more for them.
You would need to organize the number and size of pigs with the size of the paddocks you keep them in if you want them to thoroughly till ground in an organized fashion. The pigs are also likely to grow at least a little more slowly, because if you want them to till, you will need to let them be a little hungry.
I’m sure Walter will correct me if I have misremembered something.
“If you or someone you know is interested in getting a box of pork butchered in our own on-farm butcher shop there’s then let me know!”
My suggestions usually involve homonyms, but I don’t like “there’s” in the middle of the sentence.
It is good to see you back. Pushing to get a corned pork label/recipe approved would be a good reason to skip a few blog posts.
Oops! Typo. Thanks for catching that! Fixed.