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Posts Tagged ‘varietal pork’

Alert reader Jean Conover sent me an article from The Des Moines Register, “Will varietal pork be the next foodie craze?” In the article, Herb Eckhouse of LaQuercia says we lost the ability to recognize the difference between different breeds when the pig hits the plate (so to speak) when pork production became industrialized. That might be changing now that more restaurants are naming their sources on menus and specialty stores are indicating the breed of the animal on their packaging, however. If “name-dropping a specific breed of hog” really becomes a way to impress your friends as this article concludes it might, Stone’s Throw Farm pork buyers will be set!

Another foodie acknowledges later in the article that it’s difficult to compare taste unless you’re sampling pork from different breeds side by side, such as at a tasting event, but it’s certainly not impossible to sample each other’s food at a restaurant or buy several different packages of bacon and compare them at home.

I know I was impressed when I first saw a clipping about Berkshire pork taped to the display case at Northern Waters Smokehaus here in Duluth a few years back — I thought I was the only one in town who knew that Berks are “Sweeter tasting than most.”

I’ve also been reading about how what you feed pigs affects the taste of the meat in Pig Perfect: Encounters with Remarkable Swine and Some Great Ways to Cook Them, which claims that finishing (i.e., feeding an animal as it nears ideal market weight) pigs on acorns and peanuts makes for the best pork. We don’t have many oak trees at Stone’s Throw Farm, nor will peanuts grow well in this climate, but I’m planning to grow oats and field peas for our piggies this year and I’m open to ideas.

I didn’t read all of Pig Perfect because I got it through inter-library loan and didn’t get around to finishing it in time, but it was fairly interesting. I was hoping for more encounters with remarkable swine and less discussion about cooking them, but I was amused by the discussion of how pigs became domesticated in the first place. I like the idea that the friendliness of pigs played a part in it:

Pigs, the more I think about them, were born to be domesticated. They are the best converter of plant to meat of any large animal.  . . . Add to this the fact that pigs are friendly, don’t seem to mind being around people (in fact, they appear to like it), and don’t require a lot of management. If there is food around, they will eat it and stay close to home.”

That last sentence could be used to explain the behavior of a lot of people, too.

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