Why Pastured Pork?
Not all pork is created equal. Take a look at the top reasons we choose to pasture raise our hogs, instead of keeping them in confinement.
Pigs were born to be outside - to play in the mud, soak up the sunshine, and rummage across the land. Pigs are emotional, intelligent creatures and in pastured farm operations like our own, are kept together in communal groups their entire lives. Pastured sows are free to walk around and be with their piglets, instead of being confined in a metal crate as they are in factory farm situations.. All of our hogs are born and raised on our farm until they are finished. In rotational grazing operations, like our own, the animals move regularly, and so, stay healthy, naturally as they constantly move away from their manure. Because of this, there’s no need to dose them up with steroids, hormones, or antibiotics. They grow and live, naturally.
Living outside, in lush pasture with sunshine and fresh water makes for happy pigs, living low stress lives. Less stress results in better tasting pork, as the stress hormones released by factory farmed meat often taints the meat (which is then ground and seasoned to cover the poor taste). The quality fat results in rich tasting meat, flavorful and delectable. The heritage breeds (like the red wattle and large blacks we have) that do well on pasture have a high quality meat, sought after by chefs and foodies for its superior taste.
Pastured pork fat was designated as one of the top 10 most nutritious foods by the BBC this year for it’s high content of B vitamins and minerals. It contains particular fatty acids that are beneficial to our heart, arteries and skin and can help regulate our hormones. It’s also been noted that pastured pork lard can have a higher Vitamin D content. Everything in moderation, of course, but you can feel good knowing that pastured pork contains those essential to our body (not to mention flavorful) fats.
Better for the Land
Moving the pigs across the pasture helps to disturb the soil and stimulate the seed bank. Their manure is spread evenly and gently across the land, also, instead of being concentrated in large lagoons as they are in factory farm operations (which then risk spillage and groundwater contamination). Their movement across the land helps to trample down and digest plant materials, thus helping to build up the soil organic matter. The pasture helps promote wildlife and pollinator habitat, also. We’ve seen nesting birds, birds of prey, bees, butterflies, rodents, and more all bustling about the pasture. It’s key, though, to understand that these benefits exist only when the animals are rotated regularly across pasture paddocks, giving time for the plants to regrow between rotations.
With that, go ahead and eat pork, but make sure you meet your meat first and know how it was raised to ensure it’s truly good for you, the animals, and the land.