Pork Butchering 2010 – Nature’s Green Acres


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.

More to come on this adventure…

7 Responses

  1. Greg says:

    Wah! We miss this!

  2. Emily says:

    I helped butcher two pigs yesterday and now have four quarters of pig hanging outside my house , thankfully it is in the forties this morning. I’ve been wanting to let the meat hang a few days but thought I’d just have to see how warm it is getting in the afternoons. We are having unseasonably warm weather for this time of year, (sixties), but my cool area isn’t getting higher than fifties. I’m going to brine and smoke at least one ham, and cure the belly and top shoulder for bacon. We have a large garden, raise our own chickens, ducks and turkeys, dairy goats, and as a result eat very well. I look forward to being inspired by your reviews and beautiful pictures of quality food. Emily

  3. Kevin says:

    Heat is most certainly an issue at this time of year when it comes to slaughter and butcher of any animal, and I intend to write about it relative to the recent pig butchering – not optimal weather. Sounds like you’re doing some tough and rewarding work, Emily, and I’m really glad to hear from you!

  4. [...] pork and crackling skin are two things I’ve grown to adore pork for, so when butchering the Nature’s Green Acres pig a couple days ago I was resolved that the heads would be put entirely to good use. I normally carve [...]

  5. A little butchering-philanthropy, one might say. – hilarious!
    Can’t wait for the video – and that lunch is quite the hardy little meal!
    I found a really beautiful mushroom growing under my tomato plant. Not a shaggy one… It looked like a white mushroom from Safeway. ANd smelled, well, wonderfully mushroomy. I did the paper test but there wasn’t anything white on my coloured paper. Is that the only way to know? I sadly threw it away.

  6. Kevin says:

    Valerie – although there’s certainly a chance it was an edible form of field mushroom, it also could be highly toxic. Toxicity is why I stick to the shaggy mane and shaggy parasol – because I know I can ID them. The white spore print was a test for the shaggy parasol to differentiate it from its toxic lookalike that has a green one, and is not a general test for whether or not it is edible. So you did well to not eat it.

  7. [...] eating chunks of fried cheese…because we did that too. And bacon, how can I forget the amazing chunk of pork belly that Kevin just happened to whip out of nowhere. Homemade bacon….sign me up. [...]

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