How to buy our farm-to-table pork
We raise purebred Berkshire pigs in our pastures near Lebanon Oregon. Here's what our breeder says about Berkshire pigs: "With a long history that goes back some 300 years in England, this black-and-white pig is highly regarded for juicy, tender, and flavorful pork which is heavily marbled with fat. Known as Kurobuta pork in Japan, Berkshire is to pork what wagyu is to beef."
Why is pasture-raised good? The meat is leaner and flavorful but not gamy. Pasture-raised animals tend to have more Omega 3's and other nutrients. See this article. They're also happy animals, wandering around freely on acres of greenery.
Purebred Berkshire pigs, renowned for exceptional marbling, reddish color, flavor
Closed herd (reduced disease risk)
No hormones, antibiotics, or pasture herbicides/pesticides
Pasture forage + nutritionally balanced pig feed (no soy) + local treats such as apples, pumpkins, and bread.
Daily attention and love from hoomans.
Praise for Berkshire pork from Pigs Can Fly Ranch
"My Dad texted me to say that the pork chops were 100% the best he’s ever had. He rarely offers unsolicited praise, so this is genuine appreciation."
"We've really been enjoying your pork; the quality is better than any I've ever had."
"All the Berkshire cuts so far have been fantastic!"
"We had the boneless pork chops for dinner tonight. Delicious! Such nice big chops and very tender & moist. Nothing gristly or greasy about it."
Basic sale information
Following state regulations, we sell pig shares, not pork – a distinction popularly known as "buying meat on the hoof." This means that we sell you a "share" or a "half share" in a live pig before we take the pigs to a trusted butcher, who takes your custom order for cuts, ham, sausage, and so on and cures and packages the meat for you.
- There are two payments that must be made: one to the farmer and one to the butcher. Both are based on the "hanging weight" of the pig.
- The estimated hanging weight is 100 lbs. for each half-share (200 lbs. for a whole share), but we won't know for sure until the butcher hangs the carcass after slaughter.
- Paid to the farmer:
- Hanging weight times the price per pound.
- Payment to the farmer is due shortly after butchering when the hanging weight is known.
- A $50 deposit is required to reserve your whole or half share. The deposit is deducted from the final amount paid to the farmer.
- Paid to the butcher:
Here's how butchers break out their costs to you:
- Harvest (slaughter) fee.
- Butcher cut and wrap fees
- Any extra fees (curing, sausage making, rendering lard), based on your custom order.
- We provide your name and phone number to the butcher when we deliver the pigs. You can call or email them to place your custom order.
- The orders are ready 3 weeks after butcher. We'll pick up all the orders and make arrangements with you for free delivery to your doorstep.
But what's my total cost?
That's a hard one, since there's so much variation between live weight, hanging weight, and the weight of the cuts you bring home. See the butcher cut sheet for help understanding the difference.
For a recent butcher date in April 2022, I calculated the take-home weight of the pork against farmer + butcher costs. The pricing for the take-home cuts (no organs, some cured cuts) came out to $7-10/lb. The bacon price was less per pound than what was available in the supermarket at that time. This does not constitute any guarantee of the price you will pay, just what I observed with purchases made a few months ago.
Can I buy less than a half share?
In a word, no. This again is due to state regulations. However there's nothing to keep you, as a buyer, from sharing with someone else. You'd need to coordinate that directly with another person. If you do that, please designate a single contact for reserving, working with the butcher, and delivery.
If you're new to buying meat on the hoof
Buying meat on the hoof seems complicated when you do it for the first time. It's hard to figure out:
- How much meat am I actually getting?
See the butcher cut sheet, it's a huge help.
- How much am I paying per pound for what I'll get in the end?
See What's my total cost?
- Will I have room in my freezer?
See How much space does this take in my freezer?
All I can say is, after you jump off this cliff for the first time, you'll probably want to keep doing it. Most of our customers are repeat customers.
You'll also need to make decisions about how you want the butcher to cut and process your meat. How thick do you want your chops? Do you want ground meat instead of some cuts? How many pounds per package? Do you want organs included? What kind of sausage flavorings do you want? If you're not sure, ask the butcher for recommendations.
How much space does this take in my freezer?
It's hard to be precise, of course, since the hanging weight is a guess based on experience. Based on this year's expected weights, and not including organ meats or lard, the packages are expected to take up around 2.26 cu. ft.
I have no visual-spatial abilities so that volume means nothing to me. Let's convert that to my own freezer. One shelf in my 9 cu. ft. freezer is about 26" side by 18" deep by 9" tall. That one shelf is about 2.43 cu. ft. So to be on the safe side, estimate, 1–1.5 freezer shelves and adjust according to your own freezer.