Thursday, February 11, 2010
Eat a Pig, Save a Breed ...
(It is true that this picture has nothing to do with pigs. But, as I was out doing chores this morning this was the beautiful image that I saw ... and all the hogs were still asleep in their huts. I didn't feel like I needed to wake them up from their slumber just for a photo op.)
As new producer members of the Iowa Food Coop this is only our second month with product listed. Last month we sold bundles of our Berkshire/Hereford pork, but this month we were able to list individual packages of our pure Hereford pork. So far it has been selling fairly well (probably better than I expected), and those sales made me think of the importance of eating the rare breeds in order to support the rare breeds.
It almost sounds counter productive to eat a pig from a breed that has dwindled to less than 2,000 individuals nationwide (according to the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy website), but if people aren't interested in eating them ... well, then there is no need to raise them. If you are interested in supporting and helping heritage breeds survive you have to eat them and support them through your purchases!
I chose the Hereford breed because it seemed like it was well suited to the small-scale farming that we are doing and so far that has proven to be true. As I have mentioned before the breed was developed here in Iowa and Nebraska from Duroc, Chester White, and Poland China lines. Being developed in the 1920's I believe they are uniquely breed for an outdoor farrowing and finishing system.
Another thing that I have found to be true is that they are a fairly easy tempered and docile breed. I realize that my pig experience isn't vast, but of all the swine that have graced the farm these pigs have been the easiest keepers and by far the easiest to load! In my book that is a big plus.
If you are in the area and interested in supporting a small, but important, breed we are going to be taking two more to the locker later this month. We will then have cuts and packages available through both the Iowa Food Coop and directly from the farm.