I decided to keep our pigs a while longer. I understand the arguments in favor of processing them at 250 pounds and at 450 pounds. Both arguments make good sense. But in the end I decided to buy more feed and let them get fatter.
This is traditionally the time of year hogs would fatten on acorns and other nuts. Ours are fortunate to be in a pasture where there are some big oaks to drop feasts for them. They’re also fortunate to get goodies like eggs and tomatoes (as they did this morning), along with a GMO-free feed. They growing like, well, hogs.
Unless I change my mind again, I’m going to have them made into whole-hog sausage. Not only do I love good sausage (Cherie is vegetarian, so it’s irrelevant to her), but it is our most popular and fastest-selling pork. While I’m really looking forward to sausage (insert smiley face here), I’m not happy about having to go a whole year without barbecue (insert frowning face here). Next year I’m planning to raise four pigs–I’ll process two at 200-250 pounds for all other cuts and the other two at 400 plus for whole hog sausage.
This is going to be some amazingly good sausage. Some of the reasons include:
1. Our hogs are Tamworth-Berkshire crosses. Lots of folks consider the pork from this combination to be the finest and tastiest available.
2. Our hogs are raised on pasture. They live a happy stress-free life, living as nature intended and enjoying a diet of nuts, clover, roots and grasses.
3. Our hogs aren’t fed any GMOs. We supplement their natural diets with a specially-made GMO-free feed. A recent study has shown that pigs fed GMOs are less healthy than those that aren’t.
4. It is whole hog sausage. The shoulders, hams and other premium cuts are in the sausage, making it a superior quality to sausage made only from the processing left-overs.
5. Our hogs are never given any antibiotics or growth hormones. A recent study revealed that about 70% of all supermarket pork contains antibiotic-resistant bacteria (as a result of the rampant use of antibiotics on factory farms) and 20% contained traces of rapactomine, a growth hormone used on factory farms. Human beings shouldn’t be eating antibiotic-resistant bacteria and pork growth hormones. There is none of that in our pork.
There are probably lots of other reasons, but those seem pretty good to me.