Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Price and Ordering

An explanation of how our prices are calculated and what is included can be found below. Please contact us with any questions.

We don’t like being nickeled and dimed when we make a purchase so we don’t nickel and dime our customers. Therefore, our prices include: cut and wrap, smoking/curing of hams and bacon (if desired), and delivery to a central location. 

If you don't want to eat cured meats, please make sure you request that your ham and bacon be fresh.  Also ask for fresh ground pork instead of the sausage.

Prices are calculated by the hanging weight and are as follows:

Quarter Pork - $3.75/lb (Anywhere from 35-50 lbs hanging weight for a price range of about $130-$180)

Half Pork - $3.50/lb (Anywhere from 70-100 lbs hanging weight for a price range of about $245-$350)

Whole Pork - $3.25/lb (Anywhere from 140-200 lbs hanging weight for a price range of about $455-$650)

We normally shoot for a hanging weight of 160 lbs (whole hog).  However since we don't process every week we have to take pigs to the butcher that are close to the "ideal" size.  Pigs naturally grow at different rates.  In today's world of production uniformity this is isn't something we are accustomed to. 

Call me a poor businessman, but when we calculate our prices, we don’t try and see how much we can get away with. Rather, we look at our costs, add a little for our efforts and make sure that we can grow and sustain a viable farm. We want our pork to be affordable to as many families as possible!

I was recently contacted by a restaurant in Park City who wanted to offer our pork on their menu. They have several other restaurants in the country and have humanely treated, pasture raised Berkshire on their menu as well. As we talked price, I quoted them $3.25/lb for whole pork. They responded that my price was cheaper than what they normally pay in other states and they buy in large quantities! In the end we decided that for now I wouldn’t be able to keep up with demand and will reevaluate in the future as we grow.

Below you will find the totals that we measured from half a pork. Obviously this will vary a little from pig to pig.

Half a pork 80 lbs Hanging Weight

Ham slices 10 packs 10.5 oz = 7 lbs
Bulk Breakfast Sausage 13 packs avg. 1.15 lb = 15 lbs
Bacon 10 packs avg. 10 oz = 6.2 lbs
Ham hocks 1 pack 1.7 lbs
Hams 2 packs 4lbs and 5 lbs = 9 lbs
Spare ribs 1 pack 2.7 lbs
Roasts 3 packs 3.7 lbs 3.4 lbs. 3.4 lbs = 10.5 lbs
Chops 1” 11 packs = 22 chops 8-10 oz/pack = 13.2 lbs

If you have a traditional fridge/freezer where the freezer is on top, a half pork can fit in the freezer if there is nothing else in it. If you have a side by side, you can fit half a pork with room to spare. As far as consumption rate goes, you can get an idea of how many meals you can cook by looking at the quantity of packages above. Our family of two adults, two children and a baby can eat a whole pork in 6 months. We don’t feel that we overly consume pork as we eat chicken, fish, beef, deer, and elk as well. However, we love our pork and love to share our meals with friends and family. I hope this information is helpful for those of you who have never purchased a pork before.

To order, visit our website here or simply give us a call or send us an email. Please include your name, phone number, address, email address, and the quantity of pork you would like. We also require a $25 deposit for a quarter pork, $50 deposit for a half pork, and $100 deposit for a whole pork.  If you don’t send a deposit, we cannot hold your pork. If you mail in your deposit, we will notify you with a confirmation once we have received your deposit. If we don’t see a deposit, we will try and contact you to make sure that it wasn’t lost in the mail etc… The balance will be due upon delivery of the pork. We usually pick the pork up from the butcher and deliver it directly. We don’t have the hanging weights until we pick up the pork. All the pork is separated in bags and marked by a number. This number corresponds to the hanging weight and is how we can calculate the total price of the pork we deliver to you.  Please send your deposit to:

Christian Christiansen
PO Box 32
Vernon, UT 84080

Once again, please feel free to contact us with any questions. We will be happy to help anyway we can.

email: chhd01@gmail.com
phone: 435-839-3482
website: http://www.christiansenfarm.com/

Friday, June 19, 2009

Sausage Corn Chowder

A special thanks to Amy Roskelley for providing us with this recipe. For all of you who just cleaned me out of sausage, this will be a perfect recipe to try. She also has a great website and blog with lots of fantastic ideas. There are many more healthy, wholesome recipes on her website for you to try. Many of them will utilize produce out of your gardens!


Sausage Corn Chowder

Brown and sautee
1 lb sausage
¾ cup chopped onions

Boil together
2 cups water
2 cups potatoes chopped

Then add:
1 can creamed corn
1 can regular corn
1 can evaporated milk
1 tsp Oregano
1 tsp Salt
½ tsp Pepper

Add sausage and onion to soup mix.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

New Pig Farmer

Hey everybody, I just wanted to announce the arrival of our newest little pig farmer. Shia Hope Christiansen was born this afternoon around 3pm. At 6 lbs 6 oz and 19" she is a bit of a runt but absolutely beautiful. Hollie did really well and should be able to come home tomorrow. She has lots of dark hair just like Hollie did when she was born. Hans and Dane were so sweet and were cute to listen to as they held her. Hans and Dane couldn't figure out how the baby came out. Hollie and I just looked at each other when they asked about it. I am not sure if we are ready to start explaining that stuff yet! LOL They have seen our sows give birth so if it comes up again I guess we can refer them to that. : ) I will post pictures tomorrow when I get home. Thank you all for your concern and well wishes!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

We Want Recipes!

We have heard back from many of you that you would like to see pork recipes on our blog. First, please understand that we are not chefs but farmers.

We try very hard to find recipes that aren't designed to add flavor to otherwise flavorless pork or to completely mask the flavor. We try to find recipes that allow us to taste the natural flavor of the pork.

One of my favorite meals is Biscuits and Gravy. We usually eat if for breakfast on days that we are going to be out working all day. It is hearty, filling, and keeps us going until lunch. However I love the flavor that our sausage gives the dish so much that I often ask to eat it for dinner too.

Biscuits and Gravy


1 pound of Christiansen’s Hog Heaven Berkshire Sausage
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
Salt to taste
Freshly ground Black Pepper to taste
8 prepared biscuits


Crumble and cook sausage in large skillet over medium heat until browned. Stir in flour until dissolved. Gradually stir in milk. Cook gravy until thick and bubbly. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot over biscuits. Serves 4

This is how Hollie usually prepares our pork chops:

Grilled Pork Chops


4 Christiansen's Hog Heaven Berkshire Pork Chops
3/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
3 T McCormick Grill Mates Pork Rub

In a medium sized mixing bowl, mix pork rub seasoning and oil together. Place thawed pork chops in the bowl and stir oil mixture around till the pork chops are covered. Place pork chops on grill and cook to your preference. We like to cook our pork chops until the fat is just starting to crisp. To check if the pork is done, we make a small cut near the bone. The area around the bone is the last to cook. If you use a thermometer, the recommended internal temperature is 160 F. We usually eat this with fresh steamed asparagus and red mashed potatoes with skins on. Grilled onions and sautéed mushrooms are perfect as a topping on the pork chops.

This next dish is much more involved but mouthwateringly delicious. It beats nearly any dish I have had at any restaurant and is very gourmet. We adapted it from a recipe we found in Hobby Farms magazine

Cornish Game Hens with Apple-Bacon Stuffing


2, 1- to 1 1⁄2-pound Cornish game hens (regular chicken works also)
1 tsp. salt 1 to 2 T. vegetable oil
For Stuffing
5 slices of Christiansen's Hog Heaven Berkshire Bacon
1⁄4 cup onion, finely chopped
1 1⁄2 cups dry bread cubes
1 cup apple, peeled and grated, tart or sweet according to preference
1 T. fresh parsley, chopped
1⁄4 tsp. dried thyme
1⁄4 tsp. dried marjoram
Salt and pepper to taste
2 to 4 T. dry white wine
For Glaze
1⁄4 cup apple juice concentrate, thawed
1 T. lemon juice
1 T. butter, melted


Remove giblets from hens and discard or save for another use. Rinse hens under cold water and pat dry. Season cavities with salt. Set aside in refrigerator until ready to stuff. To prepare the stuffing, fry the bacon slices until crisp. Remove bacon strips from pan and crumble. Sauté onions in the drippings until soft. Remove onions with a slotted spoon. Reserve 2 tablespoons of drippings. (If bacon does not yield 2 tablespoons of drippings, add melted butter to equal 2 tablespoons). Place bread cubes in bowl and drizzle over reserved bacon drippings. Add apples, bacon, onion, parsley and seasonings; stir to combine. The mixture should just stick together without being soggy; if mixture seems too dry; add 2 to 4 tablespoons of dry white wine. Lightly stuff birds (do not pack firmly). If they still have their neck skin, pull the skin to the back and twist wing tips under back to hold the skin in place. If hens do not have neck skin, wedge a thick slice of apple or onion in neck cavity to hold stuffing in place. Tie legs to tail. Place hens, breast side up, on rack in shallow roasting pan. Brush with vegetable oil. Cover loosely with foil. Roast in a preheated, 375-degree F oven for approximately 90 minutes or until you can move the drumsticks easily in their sockets and the meat is no longer pink. Remove foil after first 30 minutes. Meanwhile, combine glaze ingredients. Brush hens with glaze two or three times during last hour of cooking, eventually using all of glaze. If desired, use pan drippings to make gravy to serve with the birds: After birds are done, remove them from roasting pan and keep warm on a serving platter in the oven. Strain the pan juices, dilute with 1 to 2 cups chicken broth and heat to boiling. Thicken using your favorite method, either flour and water or cornstarch and water. Serves 2.

If you have a favorite dish that you would like to share we would love to try it. Send it to us and we will post it on our blog (with your permission) so that others can try it as well!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Good-Bye Dozer, Hello Bolt!

We recently said goodbye to Dozer. A few months ago, we acquired some young gilts (female pigs that have not yet farrowed (given birth)) due to the positive response we have had to our pork. Because they are smaller than our full grown sows, (females that have farrowed before) Dozer was simply too big to use as our breeding boar. He is 1100 lbs, they are 300 lbs. You can run into problems like damaging backs, hips, knees, etc… if you allow a big mature boar to mount young gilts. We loved Dozer for his strong genetics, mellow temperament, and loving personality. We simply are not large enough of a farm to justify having several boars around. Boars are very hard on fencing, gates, feeders, and watering systems and therefore cost us money and time in terms of maintenance. Since he was the oldest, we thought it wise to let him go first since he had the least amount of breeding life left. We took him over to our neighbors and good friends, Rich and Amanda who provided a home from him away from the other pigs. We kept him there for about 5 weeks feeding him fresh greens and alfalfa. The purpose for this was to help settle the hormones in his system. The fresh greens help make him lean. The greens are also high in nitrogen which bonds to the two chemicals in boars that can cause boar taint. When the nitrogen bonds to the chemicals, it changes the molecules to where it no longer affects the taste of the meat. That is, if the boar has boar taint. New research is showing that boar taint can actually be bred out of pigs with selective breeding. Many boars don’t have boar taint to begin with.

Well, after five weeks, we took him to the butcher. The butcher called me a few days later and told me to come down and get a piece of meat. He cut me a piece off the carcass and I took it home and cooked it in a frying pan. I wanted to do this so that if there was any taint, it would be easy to sense, especially with Hollie’s “prego” nose. I swear pregnant women have stronger senses than a bloodhound. Anyway, we cooked the meat and couldn’t smell anything but delicious Berkshire pork. I called my brother in law, Stan who came over. He couldn’t smell anything either. We all tried the pork and it tasted just fine. So I called the butcher back and told him go ahead and process the whole thing into breakfast sausage. We recently got the sausage back and it is delicious. The sausage is packaged in 1 lb packages and sells for $2.49/lb. For those of you watching your weight, this sausage is very lean. We use it in spaghetti sauce, biscuits and gravy, sloppy joes, you name it. We us it anywhere we would use hamburger. The extra seasoning makes everything delicious.

For now we are using our back up boar Bowser (named by our boys who are currently going through a Mario phase). He is smaller and younger than Dozer, which allows us to use him on our smaller gilts.

We are looking forward to using Bolt who is the newest addition to our herd. He is a young boar, only three months old. We have been waiting for months to get a strong boar from a farm in Arizona. Their main boar is Perfect Blend who is well, perfect! He is the perfect specimen of how a Berkshire pig should look. Nicki Trump with Arizona Berkshires, the boar’s owner, has been keeping an eye out on his litters to find us the perfect boar that reflects the qualities of Perfect Blend. We have waited several months, but finally have a good boar with clean bloodlines, strong genetics and a long breeding life in front of him. We will begin to use him in 5 or 6 months. We would like to give a special thanks to Nicki Trump for the fantastic breeding program she runs and for her kindness and help in finding the perfect new boar for our herd.

PS. As an update I have included some pictures of our last litter. They grow so fast and are looking amazing with large round hams, and broad shoulders.

Please leave us your comments. We love to hear from you!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Work, work, work

I figured I better update our blog since it has been three weeks since my last post. We lost our camera and we have been trying to find it so that we can show how our little piglets are doing. To refresh your memory, our sow delivered 12 piglets last month. Two were stillborn. Of those we had one runt and another that was what I call “runty”. Not a true runt but smaller and less energetic than the rest. After a week, we noticed that both of the smaller piglets weren’t doing so hot. We decided to bottle feed since they were not even making an attempt to nurse. It was a lot of work. We had them in the house in a box with a heat lamp at night. One night the runty piglet jumped out and began wandering around the house. I woke up at 3:30 in the morning with the faint memory of hearing a snort. I was trying to figure out what woke me up as I am normally a deep sleeper. Then I heard the snort again which now had me fully awake. I tuned on my bedside lamp and found the little guy trying to climb into our bed. I put it back in the box and was able to get back to sleep. Unfortunately, we ended up losing both of these little guys. I read somewhere that 90% of runts end up dying. It is sad, but part of life on the farm. The good news is that we have 8 very healthy and vigorous piglets that are coming along nicely.

In trying to research methods to save those two little piglets, we did come across a product that we will try in the future. It is basically Carol syrup loaded with vitamins and electrolytes. It is supposed to give weak piglets a little extra energy to give them a better chance of survival. It isn’t medication but just extracts from fruits and veggies.

We are extremely busy trying to get our garden in. In Vernon we have a very short growing season. I believe we only have an average of 90 frost free days. I am also trying to get our well installed with a new main water line and hydrants installed throughout the farm. This will make life a little easier in the winter. Last winter we had to drag 300’ of hose and then drain it everyday so that it wouldn’t freeze. In addition, the water pressure is greatly reduced after 300’ of hose and we actually had days so cold that the water would freeze in the hose as we were trying to fill up waterers. Since we are redoing our water lines, I figured it would be a good time to install a sprinkler system in the lawn. So, we tilled up our yard so that we can install a sprinkler system and get a good sized yard in place for the kids to play on. Hollie is scheduled to have our baby in two and a half weeks, so I am trying to tie up these projects before then. We will see how it goes.

We are learning (over and over again) the importance of having the right setup, tools, and facilities. Hopefully we will soon be able to justify the purchase of additional land. I would like to build better sorting pens, breeding pen, farrowing structure etc… I would like to have a building that is heated in the winter and cooled in the summer. Then our pigs can farrow in a more comfortable environment. We could also install a watering system that would prevent us from having to go out and break ice. Of course we would install doors so that the pigs can come and go as they please from pasture to the building if they need a break from the elements. One step at a time I guess…

Since a blog is boring without pictures, here is a picture from a couple of weeks ago. We decided that we needed a breather from the farm and went camping up Ophir Canyon. We had a good time and were able to sneak in a horseback ride while my parents graciously watched the boys back at camp.