Welcome to Follow the Feast ! We are ready to get started on this exciting journey of raising meat together.Lets start by reviewing some very important work that has been leading up to the arrival of our animals.
We began last February with lots of reading and research on raising meat and the different options available. We chose three meats that are common and delicious to concentrate our efforts on and to include in this project; pork, chicken and turkey. One of our goals in sharing this research with you is to encourage you to eat what we call happy meat, that is, animals raised in a clean, healthy and loving environment. We want you to know what that looks like and encourage you to seek out relationships with local farms to support happy meat production. Happy meat production is good Earth Stewardship! Stay tuned this season to find out why.
Pigs were the most popular researched amongst my young students during our research month last February. I didn’t realize there are so many different kinds of pig breeds. Breed refers to the variety of the pig. Pig breeds can varying in shape, size, color and other characteristics including personality . Often times pig breed names represent the area of the world the breed came from originally. Heritage Breed pigs are distinguished further as breed lines that are not compromised; they have not been crossed with other breeds, likened to pure bred dogs or heirloom seeds . Lets take a minute and talk about the pigs that are coming to the farm this season.
Meet Tammy and Roxanne. These two pigs are thoroughly enjoying digging their snouts through beds of root vegetables and laying in the shade of apple trees. Now, I am sure you have noticed that these two, while both evenly pig-shaped, wear different-colored coats. This is because they are different breeds of pig. Tammy is a Tamworth pig because both of her parents were Tamworth pigs, and her ancestors several hundred years ago lived in Tamworth, Staffordshire, England(http://www.ansi.okstate.edu/breeds/swine/). In the same way, Roxanne is a Hampshire(http://www.ansi.okstate.edu/breeds/swine/) probably the oldest American breed of hogs. Their coloring isn’t the only thing different about them. Tamworth pigs are typically red-gold in color, especially hardy and curious folk, heavy “rooters” or snout-diggers, and fill out at 600 to 800 pounds by the end of their second year. Hampshire pigs are black with a white belt around the shoulders, have thinner-than-normal skin, have a lean physique and quick growth. Spending time with our girls has supported these facts that I have lifted from a Pigs special issue put out by the people at Popular Farming magazine.
We chose the Tamworth and the Hampshire breeds for our project because they are hardy, good natured and pasture well. Pasturing our pigs is important to us because it gives them some freedom in nature and access to a natural green diet. Healthy and happy pigs is our goal.
More on pasturing next….