On Christmas eve monring, we let the 13 weaned piglets out of the lean-to portion of our new barn because their mother was finally dried up. One of our awesome weekly farm
Berkshire pigs are a heritage breed–originating in England where they were specially bred for the king’s own personal, excellent meat supply. Berkshire pork is the the “Kobe beef” of the pork world, and is the most highly sought after pork in the world. It is prized for its juiciness, flavor, marbling, and tenderness. Berkshire pork is visibly different from commodity pork –“The Other White Meat.”
Our pork is pink and has a more robust flavor. This is due to the shorter muscle fibers and natural marbling afforded by the genetics of the animal, and the low-stress environment on our farm. Our pigs are free to root and run in the pastures, rather then locked up in a small barn prison cell like pork from the store.
As far as we know, we are the ONLY farm in the greater Kansas City area growing pigs with NO Corn and NO Soy. In addition to grazing our pasture, we feed ground or sprouted non-GMO barley along with a hearty ration of milk and whey. That translates to a high quality meat, but also higher production costs. Just stepping up from GMO corn and soy to a NON-GMO corn and soy ration, a farmer’s feed bill is 1.42 times higher than conventional farms. The barley grain portion of our feed ration is 1.61 times more expensive than GMO feeds. And that does not count the value of the excess raw milk that our pigs drink. However, our prices do NOT actually reflect the full cost increase in our production model over conventional farms. You get a tremendous value when you buy our pork!
Center Cut Pork Chop: $8.00/lb
Boneless Butterfly Chop: $8.50/lb
4 Bone Loin Roast: $8.00/lb (pork “Prime Rib”)
Bone-in Shoulder Steak: $7.50/lb
Boston Butt Roast: $6.75/lb
Picnic Shoulder Roast: $6.50/lb
Loin Roast: $8.50/lb
Medium Breakfast Sausage (chub): $7.50/lb
Italian Sausages (1 lb, 4 per pkg): $9.00
Apple Brats (1lb, 4 per pkg): $9.00
Spare Ribs $7.00/lb
Baby-Back Ribs: $8.00/lb
Country Style Ribs: $7.50/lb
Uncured Shank Ossobucco: $4.75
Organs, liver, whole Head (minus the jowl,) bones, “Season” soup bones, feet, back fat, leaf lard : $3.00/lb
Bacon–Regular or Jowel: $10.00/lb
“British Style” Bacon: $10.00/lb
Bacon Ends: $8.00/lb
Sliced Ham Steaks (Bone-in): $8.50/lb
Smoked Ham Hocks: $5.50/lb
Whole Ham (Bone-in): $7.00/lb
Half Ham (Bone-in: $7.50
Boneless Half Ham: $8.50/lb
We have 4 large sows going to butcher on Thursday Dec 3rd. They will easily weigh 450 lbs each and produce about 350 lbs of packaged meat. (I also have a couple of smaller boars if you’d prefer something in the 250 lb range.) Our freezer is so full right now, that I would really love to sell these hogs as whole and half hogs. So we are offering an additional 10% off hanging weight prices if you pre-order one of these animals by THIS Wednesday night. That brings the price down to $2.93/lb hanging weight for a whole and $3.15/lb hanging weight for a half, plus butcher fees.
We butcher at Paradise Meat Locker in Trimble. They are USDA certified and also carry several “Humane Slaughter” certifications.
Slaughter and Disposal Fee:$47 ($23.50 for a half)
Cut and package: $0.55/lb of hanging weight
Add $0.15/lb for Cryovac instead of shrink wrap.
Add $0.75/lb for curing (bacon, hams, smoked
Unlike many conventional CAFO pork operations, our feed does not have antibiotics, nor to we administer routine "preventative" antibiotics. We never use any hormones. And we also don't generally use any chemical wormers.
If we have an animal that extremely ill, we will administer antibiotics to save its life. But this animal's meat will not be sold to our clients.
We do not do any of these common practices. Because our animals are on plenty of pasture, we do not have issues with the pigs biting each others tails, and none of our piglets have ever damaged a sow's teats with their teeth.
The decision not to castrate our pigs is "controversial" in some circles. Despite the fact that cutting a boar is an extremely "messy" task and not fun for the farmer or the animal, other farmers choose to castrate for a couple of reasons. It allows them to keep their young boars from breeding animals they don't want bred, and to avoid "boar taint." Boar taint can cause the meat to have a bad taste. In our experience, when our boars are on plenty of pasture and are not yet breeding at the time of their butchering, we have not ever encountered boar taint.
We follow the advice of Walter Jeffreys of Sugar Mountain Farms, who has some excellent blog posts on the subject.
Pigs are amazing animals in that they can farrow up to twice a year with litters in size anywhere from 5-14 piglets! A sow is pregnant for 3 months, 3 weeks, and 3 days. She will then nurse her piglets for about 6 weeks. Around that time, she is usually getting a little thin due to "milking off her back." By that point the piglets are generally eating pasture, grain, and our excess raw milk in sufficient quantities to be weaned. They are separated into another field long enough for their mom to dry up--usually a couple of weeks. The sow will quickly to regain most of the weight she lost from nursing, and will begin to come back into heat within a couple of weeks. We like to time our breedings so that our sows will farrow around March, and then again in September. This ensures that the piglets aren't born in the middle of extreme heat, or extreme cold. In generally, we sell of most of our fall piglets and raise most of our pork through the spring and summer, and butcher in the fall. It is the most cost effective way for us to grow pastured pork.
It is a little known fact that pigs will eat HAY! We also grow barley grass fodder in the winter for our pigs to give them living green feed, plus ground barley and excess raw milk. Because we have less raw milk in the winter, we keep fewer pigs through the winter, and the sprouting of the barley increases the bio-available protein content of the barley to ensure the pigs get enough protein.