Carrboro, North Carolina
Born and raised in central Maine, my youth was spent mowing the lawn, kicking a soccer ball against the garage doors, and trying to sneak sugar cereal out of the kitchen cupboards after I was put to bed. More about Tim
South Royalton, Vermont
I am a baby boomer who grew up in a time when the trend in food was convenience and speed. It wasn't the fast-food era, but a post-World War II time when ... More about Warren
We live in Holliston, Massachusetts. When we bought our house in Holliston about 27 years ago, Holliston was a rural/residential town of about 13,000 people. More about Barbara
Wallace, West Virginia
My name is Autumn. I'm 24 years old, and I live in rural north-central West Virginia. I was born and raised in West Virginia, and in 2005 I graduated from ... More about Autumn
My personal interests revolve around the environment, both knowing more about it and getting outside and enjoying my surroundings. This led me down an educational path to ... More about April
Posted at 1:42 PM on May 12, 2008 by Autumn Long (5 Comments)
On Friday Dan and I drove to the southern tip of the neighboring county, a scenic 90-minute journey on winding country roads. Our destination: the farm of a friend known as Doug the Pig Man.
We had purchased two piglets from Doug in 2005, and they grew into fat and tasty hogs that kept us in pork, ham, sausage, and bacon for almost two years. We split one hog between Dan's parents and Dan and me; the other went to my parents and another couple. But our freezers have been emptied of pork products for several months, and so we'd been planning to buy two more piglets from Doug, yet procrastinating about actually doing it.
Completely by chance, my mother happened to run into Doug one day last week, and so we heard that Doug was getting out of the pig business! Doug has been raising hogs for more than a decade, but this year he's calling it quits. Corn prices have doubled, he says, and so he would have to double the price of his pigs just to stay in business. Instead, he is selling all his pigs and piglets.
I knew we had to act fast in order to get those piggies! So I called Doug right away, and Dan set to work constructing a pigpen in and around an old shed in the barnyard. We were able to purchase two 10-week-old piglets from Doug the day before he took the rest of his pigs to the local stock sale. Now the piglets have settled into their new home. They seem comfortable and content. We'll raise them on food scraps, lawn and garden refuse, and swine feed until this fall, when they will weigh about 250-300 pounds. We'll butcher them in October or November.
Re: feeding pigs
You might be interested in learning about raising pigs on pasture if you haven't already, for delicious and healthier quality meat. Research
on grass-fed meat. Joel Salatin would be one source.
Mary Lynn Laufer
Posted by Mary Lynn Laufer | May 13, 2008 8:37 AM
Thank you for bringing this up. I would like to try pasturing out the pigs once they get used to their new home. Last time we raised pigs, we attempted to introduce the piglets to electric fencing when we first brought them home -- a futile effort that ended in an insane pig chase through the hayfields and the quick construction of a wooden fence. This year we've put the piglets inside a chain-link fence to start, but I'd like to try moving them around the pasture as they get bigger. We'll see ... Thanks for the reference to Salatin; I'll check it out.
Happy local eating,
Posted by Autumn Long | May 13, 2008 9:14 AM
Autumn, great post. How sad the Pig Man is a casualty of increases in feed costs. If you get a chance, check out "Everything I Want to Do is Illegal" by Salatin, and there's a great section on Polyface Farms (Salatin's farm) in Omnivore's Dilemma, in case you don't already know about it.
Posted by Donna McClurkan | May 14, 2008 7:30 PM
Could you post a picture of your neww piglets. I would love to see them.
Posted by shella berke | May 16, 2008 11:10 AM
Donna and Shella, thanks for your comments. Yes, I have heard of/read some of Joe Salatin's work, and although I have not yet read The Omnivore's Dilemma, it is definitely on my "must read" list. (I read and loved Botany of Desire.) Shella, I would love to be able to post photos of the piggies, but unfortunately my lack of technological savvy has thus far made that impossible. I've tried several times in the past to post photos, to no avail. Believe it or not, my dial-up internet connection at home is actually too slow to upload such large files. And when I tried uploading photos at work, they appeared gigantic in size, far too large to view onscreen. I don't know how to alter the size of the photos on my digital camera, and frankly, I haven't had the time to learn how to do it. So until some techno guru decides to become my patron, I'm afraid readers will just have to use their imaginations. :-( Sorry!
Happy local eating,
Posted by Autumn Long | May 16, 2008 12:46 PM