So the winter continues into April this year. My daily view of Snow Peak has included snow for the past month and a half. But I took advantage of one dry warm day in mid-March to drive over the Cascades to Chiloquin to pick up six little Berkshire pigs from my breeder. Three of them were four months old, three were two months old.
That first week there were a couple days that were nonrainy enough that I could spend some time working in their pasture. They were scared of me but too curious to stay away so they'd orbit around me and root in the oak leaves, then disappear for a nap in their shelter. They moved as a single fluid unit.
I've realized that pigs almost never walk unless they're grazing. They do most things at a trot or a gallop, including traveling from one feed bowl to the next to try to bump the one who's already there. It's one thing to see piglets do that. It's quite another to watch them gamboling up the pasture hills after they've put on a couple hundred pounds.
And those couple hundred pounds happen very quickly. Besides their pasture forage, they eat 5-7 lbs. of locally sourced specialty feed apiece per day, plus veggie scraps and other local fresh food. This year because of their age difference they will be going to the butcher in two groups. My plan is to put just a bit more back fat on all of them this year and on the bunch going a month later yet again a little more back fat than that. So the lean meat lovers should go for the first butcher date and the lard lovers should hang back for the second date.
Keep in mind, though, that since these pigs are galloping around all day they will never have the amount of lard and fat that you see on pigs raised in more confined areas. In exchange, you get lots of omega-3's in what fat they produce. And, it turns out, pastured meat is a good source of Vitamin K2, which is claimed to be responsible for depositing calcium in your bones rather than in your arteries.
- Group 1: October butcher/November pork delivery
- Group 2: November butcher/December pork delivery
I'm creating an online store this year where you'll be able to order and pay your deposit and final bill. Details to follow! This summer I'll start taking deposits for the fall butcher dates, but as always, please contact me any time if you have any questions.
Here's hoping for some late but doubly gorgeous spring weather!