How to buy our farm-to-table pork (and FAQs)
We raise Berkshire pigs on our pastures near Lebanon Oregon. We sell pig shares, known as "buying meat on the hoof." This means that we sell you a "share" (whole live pig) or a "half share" (half of a pig) before we take the pigs to a trusted butcher, who takes your order for cuts (chops, ribs, steaks) and cured meats (ham, bacon, sausage). The orders are ready about 4 weeks after butcher. We pick up all the orders and make arrangements with you for free delivery to your doorstep. This farmer/butcher process is strictly defined by state regulations.
See our FAQs below for some common questions.
Why is pasture-raised pork good?
The meat is more tender and flavorful but not gamy. Pasture-raised animals tend to have more Omega 3's, Vitamin K2, and other nutrients. See this article. They're also happy animals, running around freely on acres of greenery. (Yes, pigs run a lot, it's counterintuitive.)
Why is Berkshire pork good?
Berkshire pork is well known for its reddish color with excellent fat marbling in the meat. In Japan, Berkshire pigs are raised to produce kurobuta (black pork).
What makes the pork from Pigs Can Fly Ranch good?
Our pigs eat seasonal pasture forage, plus locally sourced supplemental pig feed, plus local treats such as veggie scraps, apples, pumpkins, and bread.
Pigs are butchered at 8-10 months old, for tender meat and manageable sizes of cuts like chops, steaks, and hams.
We use no hormones, antibiotics, or pasture herbicides/pesticides.
Pigs get daily attention and we turn their destructive nature into a win-win relationship. For example, we often work alongside our pigs, cutting blackberry vines down to make it easier for the pigs to dig up the roots.
We strongly believe in the health benefits of fresh local food produced by small farms. We also believe that real meat raised this way will always be superior in nutrition and taste to any substitute produced in a lab. Come and visit, watch the pigs, smell the feed, and enjoy the view.
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."
"My husband is over the moon for that country sausage..."
How to buy a share and place a custom order
Following state regulations, here's the exact process:
- There are two payments: one to the farmer for the pig, and one to the butcher for the slaughter and pork processing.
- You make a deposit for a half share or whole share of a live pig before the butcher date.
- We take "your" pig to a trusted butcher.
- After slaughter, the butcher determines the hanging weight of the pig, at which point the farmer bills you for the farmer's share.
- You fill in the custom butcher order form for cuts and cures and send it to the butcher.
- The butcher processes your order and bills you directly.
- The farm picks up your pork order and delivers it to you (no charge for that).
The state doesn't allow us to simplify this process. But we have tried to lay out the steps clearly. We've also tried to help beginners by offering butcher order form templates where your butcher order form has selections made for you, such as a beginner sampler. You can modify the selections as you like. See the next section for details and order forms you can download.
New to buying pork this way?
Try our butcher order templates
You can get very picky 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 do you want? Do you want the lard? If you're not sure, you can ask the butcher for recommendations, he's happy to advise you. Or just use one of our order templates for a standard selection. Or start with a template and modify it.
The butcher has a custom order form that lets you be as detailed and as picky as you want, but it's a lot of choices for beginners or people who just want to keep it simple. To make it easier, we've created some custom order templates. Each template is just a butcher order form that's already filled in. You can use any template as is, or you can modify it as you like. Done.
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 custom order form 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) averaged out to $8-10/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 the shares from the last butcher event at the same price.
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 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 20.2 cu. ft. freezer is about 26" wide 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 for a half share and adjust according to your own freezer. Pigs vary in size, so if you're worried about space let us know when you reserve and we'll assign a smaller pig to you.
Can I buy less than a half share?
In a word, no. This is mandated by state regulations. However there's nothing to keep you, as a buyer, from sharing with someone else. You'd need to coordinate that yourself with another person. If you do that, please designate a single contact for reserving, working with the butcher, and delivery.