I know that many of you have been coming to Pork & Plants ever since Eric was a little boy. Now he is running the show and he's training our children to take over someday. The business consists of the spring greenhouse and the farm. In this post, I wanted to show you how we raise our Heritage Red Wattle pork.
Raising happy, healthy pigs is very important to us. We picked the heritage breed, the Red Wattle for their good mothering abilities, docility, ability to thrive outdoors, and exceptional meat quality. Also to help save diversity in the pig industry.
About fifteen years ago, we purchased our first breeding stock. Our children were young at the time, and we wanted them to be a part of the farm, so gentleness was a must. Holding baby piglets when they are SO cute is always a treat and the wonder never grows old.
We farrow in an open farrowing pen that Eric built. We put a deck on the front for them to come out to eat, drink, and poop. That way bed of straw stays clean and dry. By using old broken baler belts on the door fronts, the sows can go in and out of the farrowing pen whenever the sows want while keeping the baby pigs inside. In the winter we add a heat lamp to keep the piglets warm since we farrow all year round thus keeping a steady supply of meat throughout the year.
Once they are about 2-4 weeks old, the sows are put together with their babies in a big open pen, so they have more room and can burrow into the straw to stay warm. We found that the sows and the piglets transition better.
The piglets are weaned around 8-10 weeks old, keeping the litter groups together in open barns.
While working with a specialty sausage maker to find a diet that produces the best-tasting pork, we created a soy-free diet that consists of barley, peas, winter wheat, rye, and triticale that are grown on the farm. Because the diet is soy-free, people who have food allergies are able to eat our pork.
The pork is available all year as individual cuts, bundles, or bulk as a whole or half.