Monday, December 26, 2011

New for 2012

Vacuum Packaging and preservative free sausages!  Read below.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  It is hard to believe that we are already starting a new year.  The last few months have been crazy as we have tried to keep up with getting everyone their orders for the holidays.  Our little farm continues to grow.  We are grateful for the support we continue to receive both from our customers and the media.  This past year we stayed busy building our new, larger farm.

The last two months were challenging as we incurred new difficulties with our butcher.  The butcher went through a USDA inspection audit that left them scrambling to jump through some ridiculous hoops.  The audit found no issues with sanitation or anything of the like.  The issues were related to paper work, record keeping, and marking weights on each package of meat.  Because they didn't have weights marked on the packages of meat, the butcher was forced to temporarily forego the USDA inspection and instead operate under Custom Exempt status.  So some of our customers may have noticed that the USDA stamps were crossed out with marker and that the labels were stamped "Not for Sale".  This simply means that the meat cannot be sold to somebody who is going to retail the meat.  Sales direct from the farm are still legal.  Our butcher shop is owned by an older couple who doesn't accept change very easily.  Rather than jump through the hoops the USDA was requiring, they informed me that they would no longer be USDA inspected.    Additionally, that let us know that they were increasing their prices by 20%.  This was unacceptable to us as an ever increasing portion of our pork is sold to retailers.  Instead, we went to another USDA butcher shop and made arrangements with them.  This shop is actually the shop that does all the curing of hams and bacon for our now former butcher.  They do a fantastic job and are very easy to work with.  The reasons we haven't used them in the past is that they don't have a kill floor and they have typically been more expensive.  However with the other butcher raising their prices, they are now slightly cheaper with better services.

The bottom line is that we are still incurring a significant increase in our butchering costs.  We are simply passing this cost on without any additional markup.  Our whole pig price is now $3.75/lb on the hanging weight and half pig price is now $3.95/lb on the hanging weight.  The good news is that we will be able to offer our customers an overall better product.  The new price will include vacuum packaging which will allow the meats to stay fresher much longer than with the paper wrapping of the past.  We will also be able to offer a wider variety of sausages some of which will include preservative free recipes.  Sausage flavors include: Breakfast, Italian, Monterrey Jack, Monterrey Jack with Jalapeno, Bratwurst and possibly a few others.  We are waiting to hear which ones will be available without preservatives.  We hope eventually to offer all sausages without preservatives.

The butchering industry in Utah still leaves much to be desired, but given our options, we believe that this will offer the best that is available.

For those who aren't aware, our pork is now available by the cut at Caputo's Deli (downtown location) as well as Liberty Heights Fresh.

We wish you all a Happy New Year and look forward to supplying you with the best pork and beef Utah has to offer!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

We Now Ship Farm Fresh Lard

Due to a surprising number of emails asking us to ship our Farm Fresh Lard, we have now set up to ship our lard anywhere in the country!  In the past we have simply encouraged these people to find a local source.  However, the majority have responded that it simply isn't available.  We are sure this will change as more and more people discover the health benefits of cooking with pasture raised, non-hydrogenated, preservative free lard.  In the meantime, we have decided to offer our Farm Fresh Lard to anybody interested.  Details regarding shipping can be found on our website here.

A great article was recently published in Slate about the benefits of cooking with lard.  You can view it here.

We use our Farm Fresh Lard in much of our cooking.  In recipes of baked goods calling for shortening or butter, we have simply replaced those items with lard.  The textures and cooking properties are amazing!  Our cookies stay chewy and pie crusts and biscuits are delightfully flaky.  Give it a try!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Barn Raising Event

For those who are familiar with Jacob's Cove in Orem, you already know about their amazing produce especially their heirloom tomatoes.  You may also recall last winter when a snow storm collapsed one of their greenhouses.  For a small farm, tragedies like this can sink a family run farm.  But not the Allreds!  They have cleaned up the mess and are now rebuilding.  On Monday, October 17th everybody is invited out to help the Allred's in their barn (greenhouse) raising event.  There will be food, live music, and projects to help out with.  Pizzeria 712 will once again be out showing their support for local family operated farms by cooking up their delicious pizzas.  Bring the family and come lend a hand, donate what you can, eat delicious food, and have a great evening supporting this amazing family and their farm.

Click on the logo below to link to their website.

Jacob's Cove

Thursday, September 22, 2011

New Heritage Breeds

Large Black Pigs

When we decided to start raising pigs, we researched the different pig breeds to find a breed that would work well for our needs.  We recognized that we live in a climate that can be hard on animals.  (Hot sunny summers and cold, windy winters.)  From previous experience, we knew that light colored pigs had a tendancy to sunburn.  We also found that some pigs had little resilience to disease and that others had virtually no mothering ability.  That was when we stumbled across the Berkshire pig.  Being a black pig, it didn't sunburn, it thrived outdoors, and was very hearty.  Everything we read about them said that they had great mothering instincts.  We didn't find this to be entirely accurate but over time we were able to selectively bred mothering instincts back into our pigs.  Berkshire pork is well known for being superior to commercial breeds of pork partly because of its well marbled, red colored, deeper flavored meat. 

Over the last few decades as agriculture has progressed, farmers moved production indoors in order to be more efficient.  I am sure most know how the story goes.  Consumers wanted leaner pork and lower prices.  In the process, the Berkshire sort of got left behind as it has more fat (aka flavor and juiciness), doesn't produce as large of litters and is slower growing.  As commercial breeds were developed to be leaner and more efficient, the pork grew less flavorful and somewhat mushy (a result of only having an average living space of 6.8 ft2).  Another unintended consequence was the potential for mass breakouts of antibiotic resistant superbugs; a result of pigs having subtherapeutic antibiotics mixed into their daily feed and water.  This is the basic state of today's pork and for many the pendulum has swung too far opening up opportunities for our family farm and many others popping up all over the country.

Over the last few years, we have stayed busy raising purebred Berkshire pigs on pasture where pigs have an average living space of 2100 ft2.  (Commercially you could raise 300 pigs in the same space that one of our pigs enjoys.)  We have dedicated ourselves to raising our pigs humanely meaning gentle handling and herding of the pigs, no tail docking, teeth clipping, or nose rings, etc...  We also believe in raising our animals naturally meaning no antibiotics, growth promoters/hormones, and only feeding our pigs a 100% vegetarian diet of Utah grown grains in addition to the pastures they graze.  We believe that by adhering to these practices, we produce some of the best tasting and healthiest pork available.  That said, we are excited to announce that we will be taking it up another notch by introducing two additional heritage breeds to our farm.

The heritage breeds of pigs that are black in color all have similar meat quality.  The similarities are a deeper red colored pork that has more pronounced flavor as well as better marbling.  They also have a higher quality of fat for rendering lard.  The similarities are due to the fact that they share the same ancestry hundreds of years back.  These characteristics are the reason that pork from these black heritage breeds are considered gourmet quality.

We have recently acquired two Large Black sows and two Mulefoot sows.  The Large Black is known for having a shorter muscle fiber that makes the pork very tender.  The Large Black can nearly support itself on pasture alone.  The Mulefoot is perhaps the rarest breed in the country and was nearly extinct just a few years ago.  It is now making a rather strong comeback thanks to it being named the best tasting pork in a blind taste test of the heritage breed pork.  The Mulefoot pig is named for its unique hoof.  Unlike all other breeds of pigs that have a split hoof, the Mulefoot pig has a solid horseshoe like hoof.  We are excited to add the unique attributes of these pigs to the pork we are offering.
Here you can see the solid hoof of a Mulefoot

Like other heritage breeds there are some "inefficiencies" with the breeds.  Both breeds are relatively slow growing which also means that they consume more feed to reach a butcher weight than the commercial breeds.  The Mulefoot also has rather small litters averaging only 5-6 piglets per litter.  That said, we have witnessed firsthand their excellent mothering abilities, hardiness, and natural instinct to roam and graze on pasture.  Besides, we have never approached our farm with the attitude of being the most efficient.  Our goal has always been the to raise the finest quality, ethically and sustainably, and keep prices affordable for as many families as possible.  We hope that you will continue to enjoy our pork as we seek to take it up another notch by embracing these heritage breeds of pigs.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Little Publicity


Fall is in the air!  The low for today is 48 F.  It is a welcome change from the warm nights and a good reminder that we need to start gearing up for the winter months. 

Our farm has been blessed to be getting a little publicity lately.  We thought it would be fun to share it with you.

Read about our farm in this month's Catalyst Magazine.  Great article about buying all natural, locally raised meats.

Also, on the 15th of September at 8:00am I have been invited to be a guest speak on the X96 Radio From Hell morning show (96.3 FM in SLC).  The segment will be called "Ask a Hog Farmer".  We will post a link to the audio after it airs.

Last weekend we were filmed in a pilot show that will be aired on the Animal Planet.  The show is about a family who calls themselves "Preppers".  They were interested in purchasing a live pig and butchering the pig themselves. They called us and had us deliver a pig to them.  I don't know if we will even make the final cut, but it was fun to at least be a part of it.  It should air in February and we will post more info as we get closer to that time frame.

We hope these opportunities will create a little buzz as we have lots of pigs that will be ready in the next month or two.  If you haven't tried our pork yet, this Fall we are finishing our pigs on locally grown apples.  The apple/grain/pasture diet help create some amazing tasting pork.  You can pre-order here.   

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Support a Local Farm

On Labor Day (September 5, 2011) our family is going to be eating a delicious meal at the Clifford Family Farm in Provo, UT.  The meal will be delicious because it is being prepared/catered by the incredible chefs of Pizzeria 712!  Pizzeria 712 is part of the Heirloom Restaurant Group and is a good customer of ours who makes their own meat toppings and sausages from our Berkshire Pork.  Clifford Family Farm is trying to raise money for a tractor that they are in desperate need of.  As a small family farm we can certainly relate to the overwhelming costs of buying the right tools and equipment needed to operate a farm and business.  The generous folks at Pizzeria 712 are donating 100% of the proceeds to the Clifford Family Farm.  This is a great way to enjoy the holiday weekend as well as support a very worthy cause.  Besides, check out the reviews on that Pizzeria 712 has received!

On a personal note, Julie Clifford has been most generous in sharing her knowledge and experience with us as we ramp up an egg producing venture on our farm.  She has been raising/selling eggs for years and has been wonderful to help us get off to the right start.  Please come and support the Clifford Family Farm.  If you can't make it, you can still support this local family farm by making a donation.  If you pay in advance, you can attend this delicious dinner for just $10/person.  You can visit the Heirloom Restaurant Group here to sign up or make a donation.  Every little bit helps and will be very much appreciated!  Please help by spreading the word!!!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Apple Finished Pork this Fall

One of our favorite way to finish pigs is on fresh Utah grown apples.  This fall, all of our Berkshire pigs delivered September through December will be finished on locally grown apples!  The apples help give the pork a wonderful flavor.  Based on the last few years, we anticipate selling out of our fall pigs rather quickly as folks get ready for the holidays.  I know it seems early to be thinking of fall and winter already but it is right around the corner!

Our whole or half Berkshire pork orders and CSA Shares come nicely packaged in a boxes and make a great gift.  A freezer full of meat is a perfect way to prepare for the cold winters.  Delicious meals made from moist and tender roasts, steaks, chops, bacon, and ham are a great way to lift our spirits during the short, cold days of winter.  Also, if you are planning any large gatherings or parties, don't forget that we now offer whole roaster pigs as well.  While you are at it, impress your family and friends with exceptional baked goods and extra flaky pie crusts when using our pasture raised, non hydrogenated, preservative free lard.  Please let us know if you have any questions by contacting us.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


Farming often has rough days that cause us to question whether all the hard work is worth it. Of course, we often think in terms of money, of which there is little, especially with feed and fuel prices through the roof.  However, there are other rewards that to us are priceless.  There is the satisfaction of viewing our happy animals out on pasture, knowing that they are living a comfortable and content life.  Hollie and I often observe our animals on our "little pig dates" after I get home from work.  One of the greatest satisfactions of farming is the encouragement, support, and feedback we get from our loyal customers.  This is what helps us get through the rough days and tells us it is worth continuing.   We often get emails from our customers complementing us on the quality of meat we raise and the standards we abide by.   We love receiving these little notes.

On our last round of deliveries, we were delivering to one of our customers Nick, who orders on a regular basis.  He thanked us for the meat, we thanked him for the business, and then he shared an interesting experience that speaks to the quality of our pork.  Nick and his wife recently had guests over that were visiting from Seattle.  His guests make a living running a catering business.  Nick's wife who is from Asia had prepared a Thai dish with our Berkshire pork.  One of the guests took a bite and immediately commented on how juicy, tender, and flavorful the pork was in spite of the strong spices that Thai food often has.  She then asked if they were eating Berkshire pork!  Nick and his wife were a little surprised by how easily their guests could identify the quality and distinguish the flavor of Berkshire pork.  Hollie and I both smiled thought, "Yep, its that good!"

Thank you to Nick for sharing this.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Local Ripple

As a small family operated farm we have witnessed firsthand the wonderful ripple effects of buying local.  We have greatly benefited from local restaurants, businesses, and families purchasing their meat from our farm.  They enjoy the benefit of visiting our farm and seeing exactly how their food is raised.  They meet the farmer (our family) and have the opportunity to ask us questions they may have about their food.  It offers folks a chance to connect with their food in a way that only a gardener may be able to understand.

Operating an open farm keeps us on our toes.  It encourages us to keep our farm clean and looking good.  We want our animals to be in excellent health and represent the hard work and care we strive so diligently to provide for them.  This in turn, yields an ever improving product for our customers.
As our farm has grown in recent years, we have benefited from loyal customers like Heirloom Restaurant Group who has committed to buying their pork every month from our farm.  Knowing ahead of time that we can count on steady sales, helps us run our farm efficiently.  It also helps us know where to focus our business growth.  As our little hobby farm has grown into a full-fledged farm, we have realized that we simply don’t have time to keep up with every aspect of the farm.  One aspect has been piglet production and another has been animal feed.
In order to deliver pork every month to our customers, we have to start 8-10 months prior and make sure we have enough piglets on the farm.  This we found was something we struggled to keep up with.  We soon found that there were quite a few other small farms that would be happy to do this for us.  We started with two small family farms and on a handshake agreed to buy all the piglets they produced.  This turned out to be a win/win situation as both family farms were looking for sources of extra income.  Most farmers don’t have the know-how or desire to sell specialty (non-commodity) products to direct consumers.   This is an aspect of farming that we enjoy, but it is time consuming and therefore limits the time we spend farming.  The two family farms now produce piglets for us and benefit from the steady business.  We benefit by being able to consistently deliver our pork month after month as well as having more time.  Our customers benefit from readily available pork, rather than the sporadic 2-3 times a year schedule we were on.  Everybody benefits.
Acquiring pig feed was another time consuming hurdle we overcame.   As our farm has grown, the amount of pig feed consumed on the farm has increased significantly.  When we started raising pigs, we would go and buy an assortment of grains and mix them ourselves before feeding the pigs.  This worked fine when we had a dozen pigs, but as the pig herd grew, it became unmanageable.  We then started looking at the feed mills for feed.  It was more expensive and we had little control on the feed freshness, quality, and ingredients.  Additionally, it took an entire day every week to drive to the mill to get the feed and fill our pig feeders.  Out of frustration and desperation, I approached a good friend and neighbor to see if he would be interested in supplying our farm with feed as a business opportunity.   Turns out, that it was just the opportunity him and his family were looking for.  The quantity of feed our farm required was enough for him to jump right in with a commercial dump truck, grain mill, augers, etc…  My feed guy is now able to deliver the feed right into my feeders on the farm which saves me a lot of time.  We have complete control over what goes into the feed which helps us maintain the quality of pork we are expected to deliver.  I have referred other local farms to him and he has now capped the number of customers he maintains.  In other words, he has as much business as he can handle.  Because we keep everything local, he is able to offer me a lower price than the large feed mills.  I pass this savings onto my customers.
My feed guy has since dedicated himself to buying grains only grown in Utah.  He has found that he can get higher quality grain by dealing directly with the growers.  He now has a number of local farmers he contracts to buy his grain from.  He is able to pay the local farmers a better rate than what the large mills pay and saves them the cost of having to deliver it 100 miles away.  Again, everybody benefits.
Our local butcher has also benefited from our business.  Just as we enjoy steady repeat business, this benefit naturally passes onto our butcher who puts us on their monthly schedule.  The constant interaction with our butcher has built a strong working relationship.  We are able to ask for services and favors that we couldn’t have asked for a few years ago.  We now have a great deal of control over the way our pork and beef are processed.
As a kid I remember being fascinated by the ripple effect of throwing a rock into a pond.  Now as an adult, it is even more fascinating to see the ripple effect in our local economy.  It is amazing to see how the money spent at a locally owned restaurant like Communal on a pork chop dinner gets divided.  A portion of that money goes to my family as we raised the pork.  We take the money and give some to our piglet farms, some to our feed guy, some to our butcher, some to the local ranch and hardware store, and some to ourselves.  These recipients are all for the most part supporting local businesses in their industries which at some point comes back to benefit even the customer of the pork chop dinner.  Witnessing this has renewed our family’s efforts to buy local whenever possible.  As if supporting the local economy wasn’t benefit enough, we have found we generally receive better service, and overall greater value.  Supporting local businesses is one small way we can help secure a bright future for ourselves and generations to come.     

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Roaster (luau) Pigs

Just in time for summer!  We are pleased to announce that we will now be offering Berkshire Roaster Pigs.  Roaster pigs are perfect for larger gatherings/events. Our pasture raised Berkshire pigs offer greater marbling than any other pig. Marbling will add flavor, moisture, and tenderness to your pork. The more marbling, the better the results. It also means that it will be much more forgiving if you tend to overcook your pig.  The more marbling, the better the results. It also means that it will be much more forgiving if you tend to overcook your pig (like most people do).

Our Berkshire roaster pig prices are based on the hanging weight of the pig. The hanging weight on a roaster pig is the weight after the pig has been killed, scalded, and eviscerated (insides removed). The price includes delivery to the butcher, kill fee, and scald/scraping (hair removal). A non-refundable deposit of $75 is due when ordering. The balance is due when picking up the pig.  We can have the pig butterflied at no extra charge, but the butcher will need to remove the head to butterfly the pig.

We can deliver the pig to either Gary's Meat in Payson, UT or Tooele Valley Meats in Grantsville, UT. Both butchers scald on most Wednesdays and your pig can be picked up the following Thursday or Friday. Both Gary's and Tooele Valley are USDA inspected facilities and the pig will be stamped as such. This makes it very easy (and legal) for restaurants, hotels, caterers, and other businesses to host events.

When ordering, please select the size range you prefer for your event. Please keep in mind that each pig will yield slightly different from pig to pig.  We will go out of our way to help ensure your event is a success. As always, please feel free to call with any questions.  Order here!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Babies Everywhere

I have mentioned in past posts that we have enjoyed this spring and all the new life that it has brought.  We have seen new piglets and calves born.  Our turkeys hatched out a couple of new chicks as well.  Two weeks ago, our cat had three cute little kittens.

This evening when I was out on the tractor doing some chores, I kept hearing a squeaky noise.  The boys and I started looking around the tractor expecting to find an injured mouse or other small rodent.  However, the squeaking sounded like it was coming from the tractor.  This seemed strange as the tractor wasn't running.  We popped the hood on the tractor and were surprised to find a good sized bird's nest built right on top of the engine.  We peeked inside the nest and found three hungry little birds next to two eggs that are yet to hatch.  It is really quite amazing that the bird would choose to build a nest here as I use the tractor frequently.  I debated relocating the nest but figured if the eggs had survived long enough to hatch that they would probably do better just leaving them alone. It is really amazing that this bird has been able to find her nest since I don't park the tractor in the same spot on our farm.  Usually I just leave the tractor wherever is convenient.  We thought this would be a cute farm video to share.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Pork is Nearly Ready

This time of year presents perfect conditions for livestock, especially pigs.  The weather is warm but not too warm, with the occasional thunderstorm to help keep the dust settled.  The fresh spring grasses are loaded with nutrients that the pigs and cattle graze down as fast as they can.  During the warmest part of the day, the pigs hide out in their shelters and take a nice long nap.  They also lay in the wallow and enjoy the cool mud.  When they wake up it is cooling down and they get up to eat again.  Call me crazy but I can sense their content and happiness.  Under these optimal conditions that pigs start growing at unbelievable rates.  They will average 2 - 2.5 lbs of gain per day!  The cows can easily gain 3 lbs a day on nothing but pasture grass.  The pigs and cows finish out wonderfully with bright white fat loaded with nutrients marbled throughout their muscle.  The deeply flavored pork has a delightful slightly beefy taste, a result of grazing the grasses.  It is moist and tender and is so easy to cook as the marbling keeps the juices evenly distributed throughout.

This time of year is also a time that we start to fire up the grills and plan outdoor activities.  We have gatherings, camp outs, family reunions, class reunions, vacations, and backyard parties.  Of course most of the events are enhanced by good food shared with one another.

Bottom line, this the perfect time of year to stock your freezers with our gourmet meats.  We have meat and you have events.  Our Berkshire Pork and Grass Fed Beef will help make your summer activities a hit.  As always, we invite anybody who is interested to come visit our farm and see how your food is grown.  We welcome any questions about our farm or products.  We have a variety of ways to order including 30 lb CSA Share packages in stock ready to go, 1/2 or whole Berkshire Pork orders, 1/4, 1/2, or whole Grass Fed Beef Orders, as well as Family Packages.  Our goal is to ensure that all of our customers are comfortable and confident in giving us their business.  Jump on our website and get your order in!

We appreciate you showing your support for our family farm by sharing our website, blog, and/or facebook page with your friends, family, and coworkers.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Happy Farm

The past few weeks have been busy as we have tried to get projects done on the farm.  Of course this rainy weather has slowed us down as we wait out storms and fight through the mud.  We are slowly getting our garden planted as the weather permits.  Our 90 day growing season makes it challenging to grow anything, but we keep trying.  When our finances permit we would like to build a greenhouse.  Despite the rain and cooler weather, Spring is a wonderful time of year.  It seems that there are baby animals everywhere!  There is something about the rejuvenation that Spring brings to nature that brings a smile to my face and just makes me feel good.  I love to see the green grass growing, trees budding, birds chirping, new calves playing about, and baby chicks scratching about and chasing the occasional unlucky bug.

This past month we have had a couple restaurant owners/chefs visit our farm.  We are excited to be building relationships with these talented individuals.   During one of these recent visits, we showed a restaurant owner around our farm.  We watched the pigs graze while we talked business.  I believe he was caught up in the zeal and energy of Spring when told me that our farm was a "happy farm" and that visiting our farm offered similar feelings "as going to Disneyland as a kid".  I kind of laughed as I though about what he had said.  We enjoy quiet yet beautiful surroundings.  The animals are certainly therapeutic to watch as they roam about.  They do seem happy which we attribute to lots of space, gentle handling, and a healthy diet.  We also feel a good conscience knowing that our food and the food we sell is raised sustainably, humanely, and without all of the added junk, chemicals, antibiotics, and extra processes.  The chef I was with determined that from now on he was going to call us, "The Happy Farm".  I must admit that it felt good and was somewhat flattering to realize that other people see and feel what we are blessed to call home.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Utah's Finest Pork

Executive Chef Jim Light at the grill.

This past Saturday we hosted the wonderful folks from Viking Cooking School and Slow Food Utah. The event was headed up by Jim Light who is the executive chef at Viking Cooking School. They chartered a bus from SLC and came for a tour and lunch at our farm. We gave a quick summary of our farm and explained the three factors that contribute to the quality and yummy taste of our pigs. I have posted about these qualities before but they are:

Diet (Feed)

Checking out the pigs.
Berkshire pork or Kurobuta pork as it is often referred to, is genetically superior on a few accounts. The genetics are responsible for the darker red color of the pork and the deeper, richer flavor. Berkshire pork has excellent marbling and a lower pH level than other breeds of pigs. This leads to more tender meat, higher water retention (without the need to brine), and greater moisture throughout the meat. This means it is also more forgiving if you tend to overcook your meat dishes. Also as we have mentioned before, these traits are primarily recessive which is why cross bred Berkshires really don't improve meat quality in commercial breeds. It is also the reason we raise 100% purebred Berkshires.

The pigs' diet consists of small cereal grains (all grown in Utah) like wheat, barley, triticale, and oats. During the warm weather, the pigs have access to grass pastures. During the cold weather, we mix grass/alfalfa hay into their feed to give them the beneficial nutrients that the greens offer the pigs. The small cereal grains produce a fat that is harder and whiter in color compared to the fat of corn fed pigs. Experienced cooks and chefs notice an immediate difference in the way the fat cooks. We also feel that the grain mix offers the pigs a wider variety of nutrients leading to better health. Our pigs get water from nipple drinkers which ensures clean fresh water at all times. Water quality is as equally important to the pigs health as the feed quality.
Berkshires enjoying some spring grasses.

Unlike large pig CAFOs (factories) we do not use antibiotics in the pigs feed to boost growth rates. Not only is this a dangerous practice (think super bugs) but it has been proven to be unhealthy to humans by means of reducing the effectiveness of antibiotics in sick patients. (I plan to post on this topic in greater detail soon.) Additionally, we never feed the pigs any animal by-products, old bread, slop, or anything of the like. We could certainly reduce our feed costs by using these things, but we would also lower the meat quality. Animal welfare and meat quality are two things we refuse to compromise on.

Environment. Our pigs free range on grass, are allowed to root around, and behave as pigs. In the summer time they make mud holes that they wallow in to stay cool. When it gets cold, we provide our pigs with deep straw bedding that they burrow in to stay warm. Visitors to the farm are surprised to see how fast pigs can run. Of course you need lots of space to allow a herd of pigs to run which our pigs have. There is actually a benefit to allowing the pigs lots of room to move about. It increases their muscle tone which produces a perfectly firm yet tender texture in the pork. When we need to sort or work with the animals, we gently herd them to keep stress levels to a minimum. We don't dock tails, clip teeth, or push our sows to produce more piglets than is healthy for them. We take pride in raising happy pigs that enjoy a humane life. In return, we get pork that is absolutely delicious!

Our farm visitors last Saturday were able to go out and see all of these techniques put to practice. After spending some time observing the pigs grazing, holding piglets, and dodging landmines, we went back inside to enjoy some grilled chops. Our crowd of 35+ people quickly grew silent as they enjoyed the food. Then we began to hear the compliments on the quality of the pork. Many times we heard it proclaimed that this was the best pork anybody had tasted and certainly the finest pork in Utah. We figured if anybody would know, it would be this group of chefs and foodies. We are honored to be considered the producers of Utah's finest pork. Of course, we can't take all the credit, we have had lots of good advice and help along the way. We continue to rely on our neighbors and good friends, Rich and Amanda Holden with Sheeprock Feed Company who do a fantastic job of producing our feed. They search high and low for high quality grains grown in Utah to feed our pigs with.
Me (Christian) showing off a two week old piglet.

We had a wonderful time with our visitors and hope they will visit again soon. We look forward to this weekend on May 7 from noon to 4pm when we will be hosting our Farm Day. The weather forecast looks perfect. We hope you will be able to come and see for yourselves what makes our pork taste so yummy.