WSDA Certified Organic Pastured Pigs
Our pastured pigs are a wonderfully flavorful Heritage Breed called Berkshire. Renowned worldwide, in Britain (their place of origin) as the oldest breed, Japan, where they are prized as highly as Kobe beef and by American chefs for their superior taste and intramuscular marbeling, Berkshires are the most popular of all heritage breeds. The breed yields a brighter pork than most, and features a thick fat cap that gives the meat such a rich flavor. It might seem odd but by purchasing Heritage breeds you are supporting the effort to bring back breeds which have virtually vanished but were at one time common in early America.
Our pigs are raised on pasture with plenty of sunshine and room to roam. Natural foragers, our pigs dine on sweet, local grasses and an organic supplementary feed. In the winter, when the grass is dormant, we treat our pigs to thick carpets of our home grown organic barley sprouts (a.k.a. fodder). This supplement keeps the animals plane of nutrition high even when the grass isn't producing, allwoing us to butcher in the fall and still have an outstanding product.
How We Sell
Pigs may be purchased by the whole or half; both packages include a variety of chops, ribs, roasts, sausages and smoked items. Traditionally smoked items such as ham and bacon are also available uncured by request. All of our meats are sold by the live weight where you will receive approximately 58% of it as hanging weight; the actual meat you receive will be less due to the cutting away of the bones and fat. We are able to provide you with the average weight of a pig for estimating purposes, but each animal is different, so your meat may be a little bigger or a little smaller, and your final price will reflect this. Calculated into the purchase price is the butchering fee, which you will pay directly to the butcher plus $1/pound for smoke and curing. Once your meat is ready, it can be picked up at the ranch or our affiliated office in Bellevue.
Whole Pork Package
A whole lot of pork; the weights varies from 160 to 220 pounds.
Half Pork Package
The Half Pork Package is a nice size for a family of four. It varies from 80 to 110 pounds and gives you plenty of variety in your cuts, but won’t take up the whole freezer.
For more info on cuts, check out this butcher chart.
Why Organic Pastured Pork?
Not only is pastured pork lower in calories, cholesterol and fat, including artery-clogging saturated fat, it also has higher levels of many vital nutrients, such as:
- CLA (Conjuguated Linoleic Acid)
- Omega 3 fatty acids
- Vitamin A (Beta Carotene)
- Vitamin E
Further, pastured pork is much less likely to be contaminated with E. coli. Pigs kept in traditional overcrowded pens are typically given low levels of antibiotics to keep them healthy and to reduce the risk of an E. coli outbreak. Our ranch environment is anything but crowded, ensuring you get both a better product and one that was raised humanely. Consistent with all offerings, our animals are never given antibiotics, growth hormones, steroids, stimulants or ionophores and our fields do not receive herbicides or pesticides bringing you a healthier product from a sustainable ranching operation.
Two links you will be interested in on the benefits of pastured pigs:
The Nitrate Debate
There is a lot of conversation about nitrates in the clean food community. The amount we use in curing our meats is miniscule; about 120 ppm while the amount found in packaged lunch meats is considerably higher. After carefully considering both sides of the debate, we've determined that the amount we use in our processing is acceptable.
However, we are happy to provide uncured items for those who wish to stay nitrate free, but before you ban nitrates altogether, read what Tom Mylan, a butcher at The Meat Hook in Brooklyn has to say: “The real issue is the amount used. If people actually understood how little pink salt is required to prevent negative pathogens when you use clean, quality meat, I think that they would stop freaking out about seeing nitrates on a label. Industrial products use far more nitrite or nitrate than would normally be necessary in an effort to make up for the fact that the meat they use is sketchy at best.” Check out the article http://www.good.is/post/your-nitrite-free-meats-are-full-of-nitrites/ to learn more.
Nitrate free bacon? Probably not a thing.
The “No Nitrates Added” Hoax by Michael Ruhlman
Terminology: Porcine: of, affecting, or resembling a pig or pigs. There are some incorrectly used terms when asking for certified organic pastured pigs or pork. “Free range” is a term used primarily in the egg industry indicating a certain degree of non-confinement. The degree of confinement is the question which can vary a great deal. Unlike our egg layers which are true “free range”, our pigs are “pastured” meaning they have access to grass to eat but they are contained in a fenced area. No one would want a 600 pound sow wandering around their ranch. “Natural” is a term typically meaning farming and ranching using no chemical or manufactured products including synthetics and is a couple notchs below our WSDA Certified Organic designation. The best way to see how freely ranging our animals are is to come for a visit which we strongly encourage. Other pig terms: Shoat/Piglet: un-weaned or any immature pig, Boar/Hog: a male pig, Barrow: castrated when young pig, Gilt: young female not yet mated, Sow: breeding female.