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Vendor: The Piggery
Location: Ithaca, NY
Food Miles: 68 miles
Where are your farms located?
We’re proud of the dedicated relationships we have with the small, family-owned farms in New York and Pennsylvania that supply our operation. Each of the farmers we partner with meets our rigorous standards for raising animals ethically and free from antibiotics and growth hormones. Check out our Farm Partners to see who contributes to our meaty endeavors.
What breed of pigs do you raise?
This changes all the time as we experiment with our breeding program. Our partners specialize in raising traditional, heritage pigs.
How are your pigs slaughtered?
Our pigs are put down at a small USDA slaughterhouse. We have witnessed the slaughtering procedure and are comfortable that the slaughterhouse does an ethical, humane job.
Why aren’t you organic?
We prioritize access to fresh pasture and local GMO-free grains, and those two aspects of our practices would be restricted greatly under USDA organic certification.
What do you feed your pigs?
We feed our pigs a balanced diet (for a pig) consisting of greens, sunshine, and small grains.
All of the nutrient components work in synergy.
The grains at the base of our pig’s diet is largely composed of barley and triticale (a stable cross of wheat and rye). We prefer small grains for many reasons:
1) There are no commercially available genetically modified strains of barley or triticale so we can be certain that the grains are GMO-free.
2) The small grains have low amounts of the Omega-6 polyunsaturated vegetable oils, which many health professionals feel are in excess in the American diet. When pigs eat less Omega-6’s the pork is lower in them, too!
3) Small grains have good levels of protein that are able to be supplemented with pasture and whey, minimizing our reliance on soybeans, which are frequently genetically modified.
4) Small grains are a low input grain, requiring less fertilizer and weed control than corn and other summer grains. They also fit well into the type of long crop rotations that we are trying to establish where legumes and manure from grazing take the place of commercial fertilizer and management takes the place of commercial weed killers.
5) Small grains breed true generation after generation. This means that farmers who grow them can save their own seed and are not beholden to large seed companies.
The pigs always have access to green feeds – in the summer months they are rotated onto fresh pasture several times weekly and in the winter they get hay and haylage. The protein in the green feeds supplements the protein in the small grains to a large degree. They are also high in vitamins and minerals and healthful Omega-3 fats. Omega-3 fats are essential polyunsaturated fats that are missing from most American diets, and most corn and soy-based hog diets as well. Pigs are what they eat and the green feeds end up having a healthful effect all the way up the food chain. By reducing the amount of Omega-6 fats in the diet (by feeding small grains instead of corn and soy) and maximizing the amount of Omega-3 fats we produce pork with a much more balanced ratio of essential polyunsaturated fats than commodity pork.
Do your partner pig farms follow the same guidelines?
Yes! Our partner farms follow the same non-GMO grain-supplement practices, and all of their pigs are pastured-raised. We have a strong relationship with all of our partner farms and trust them to raise humanely-treated, pasture-raised, and delicious pork!
Anything from The Piggery this week?