How to buy our farm-to-table purebred Berkshire 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-fed animals tend to have more Omega 3's and other nutrients. See this article. They're also pretty happy animals, wandering around on acres of greenery.

Following state regulations, we sell pig shares, not pork – a distinction popularly known as "meat on the hoof." This means that we sell a pig directly to the consumer before we take them to a trusted butcher who takes your custom order for ham, sausage, and so on and cures and packages the meat for you.

If you've bought meat directly from farms before, you're familiar with the procedure, but if you're new to getting personal with your meat, it can be a bit confusing, so we explain it all here.

Pork butcher cuts sketch

Basic sale information

  • You can purchase a whole or half pig. The estimated hanging weight is 200 lbs. (so half-share 100 lbs.) but we won't know for sure until the butcher hangs the carcass after slaughter.
  • There are two payments that must be made when buying animal shares, one to the farmer and one to the butcher.
  • The amount due to the farmer:
    • Number of pounds of hanging weight times the price per pound.
    • The farmer's price for the Spring 2022 butcher dates was $5/lb. We're anticipating the same food shortages (grain in supplemental feeds) and price increases as for the regular food supply, so we won't know the 2023 price until closer to butcher date.
    • This payment to the farmer is due immediately after butchering when we know the hanging weight.
    • A $50 deposit is required before butcher to reserve your share or half share. The deposit is deducted from the final amount paid to the farmer.
  • Costs paid to the butcher:
    We won't know butcher prices until closer to slaughter. Here's what to look for:

    • Harvest (slaughter fee), which includes skinning.
    • Butcher cut and wrap fees. You can tell the butcher the size of the package you want (one pound, two pounds).
    • Sausage and cured meat processing fees, depending on what you order.
  • We provide your name and phone number to the butcher the day before the pigs are butchered. You can call them to place your custom order. We'll provide more information about what the butcher offers as we get closer to the slaughter date.
  • The orders are usually ready 3-4 weeks after butcher. We'll contact you when the order is ready and arrange a delivery date. We deliver at no extra charge if you're in the Mid-Willamette Valley area.
Little Girl with her head in a pumpkin
Berkshire pork chops going into the oven

The Quality of These Pigs

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 commercial pig feed + local treats such as apples, pumpkins, and bread.

Daily attention and love from hoomans. 

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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 you're actually getting, what you're paying per pound for what you bring home, and how much space it's going to take in your freezer. All I can say is, after you jump off this cliff for the first time, you'll probably want to keep doing it.

The first thing to know is the difference between live weight, hanging weight, and take-home weight. Here's a very detailed description of all the factors that go into the amount of pork you finally bring home. A general rule of thumb is your take-home packaged meat weight will be about 72% of the hanging weight, but again this can vary a lot.

You 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? What kind of sausage flavorings do you want? If you're not sure, you can ask the butcher for advice.

Pigs Can Fly Ranch does its best to estimate the hanging weight before butcher, but it's inexact and you'll have to be ready for weight variations.