At EVOO all of the land-based protein we use is sourced locally, with the exception of beef, all are from whole animals. We strive to purchase the best proteins with the least amount of environmental impact. This will be the first in a series of posts revealing all of the planning and execution we do for nose-to-tail cooking and menu implementation of a pig.
The first thing we need to do is procure the hog. We deal with several farms that raise pigs, some are growing less than 10 hogs a year which are ready when they are ready. These farmers usually take orders in the early spring, as soon as they get the piglets, for a late fall delivery. I recall a couple of years ago one of our annual pig suppliers Pete Lowy of Pete and Jen’s Backyard Birds in Concord MA held back delivery for a couple weeks because “the pigs are enjoying apples” which had recently fallen from the trees. He figured he would delay the inevitable so not only could the pigs uhm… pig-out, there would also be an added flavor benefit to the pork. Pete and his wife Jen raise a handful of Mangalitsa pigs, a Hungarian breed known for their incredible fat. We are one of the fortunate few to receive one of these beauties each year.
Other local farmers we use are producing top quality pastured hogs year round. At EVOO we purchase between 4 and 8 pigs a year. As I hope you will see, over the length of these posts, there is a lot that goes into the complete utilization of each hog. With the respect we have for the lives of these pigs and limited space in our kitchen, we need to use every bit of one pig before receiving the next.
The pig who you will be following through these posts is from our friends at Dogpatch Farm in Washington, ME. His name, provided to us by Sue of Dogpatch is / was Hoosier. Dogpatch Farm specializes in the Mulefoot hog which is a rare Heritage breed known for its freckled marbling, superb flavor and exceptional hams.
My next post will take you through the first few hours after the pig comes through our doors.