This fall, I’m going to be butchering 4 pigs from 3 different local farms – Irvings Farm Fresh, Nature’s Green Acres, and Peck N Berry Acres – all in my garage. 1.5 of them will be for my family, the rest for folks that are cutting meat with me – and a first this time around: for a few close friends who were keen at a chance to get some high quality local meat at a fraction of the cost they’re used to. We needed a side, and had agreed to buy one from Nature’s Green Acres. They’d even agreed to have it brought to Tofield Packers, my favorite place to date for having pigs slaughtered as they leave the skin on, head on, and they kill, gut, chill, de-hair, inspect, and store the pig in cooler for a day or two – all for about $45-55/animal. Bargain. That left Nature’s Green Acres with half a pig to deal with at a place that doesn’t normally process their pork, so to save them some hassle I opted to take the whole pig, cut it all, and offer a half up to friends at cost. A little butchering-philanthropy, one might say. [as a point of clarity, the AARD has okayed my butchering with friends and them paying for their share of the meat cost. I’m not 100% sure how they’d see the situation if the individual whose share it was did not participate directly [ie, watched my toddlers so that I could be cutting meat in this case, rather than having a knife in hand]. My understanding is that it wouldn’t be a problem, but I’d call them before doing this again, just to be sure, and have their number if you’re curious yourself]
So off I went to Tofield to pick up my pig. I can tell you that they look at you a little funny when you pull up in a Toyota Corolla to pick up a pig. Trust me, you can fit a pig in a sedan – even a big pig. Just make sure you have poly or a clean tarp or something. To date, I’d only cut Berkshires, so this Danish Landrace was unfamiliar. First, it was HUGE. Especially chunky around the shoulder. Secondly, for the size, it was relatively lean. And one lovely surprise was the shockingly beautiful quality of the back fat – it had a quality to the texture that I’d simply never seen before. I’m assuming the fat-beauty is feed related, but it could be breed related.
I had long been looking forward to this opportunity to shoot video throughout the process so that I could put together a how-to video to hopefully inspire the odd person to tackle cutting meats themselves. That footage has been shot, thanks to my friend Andrew who served double duty as cameraman and proficient meat wrapper. He was also a highly vocal and passionate eater of pork – the dish below was our lunch, a break between sides of pork. The choicest of fresh pork loin chop with yard-food: leek, apple, garlic, onion, and shaggy parasol mushroom. Certainly one of the tastier pork dishes I’ve knocked out in a while.