I am so very sorry that I have not kept up with this as often as I had wanted, along with the podcast( a new podcast will be out by the end of the week). The holidays really slowed things down around here, but I am very excited and glad to get back into the swing of things on the farm.
Today my husband and I spent 5 hours (… yeah...happy monday) loading the pigs into the trailer.
We finally got them in and closed up the gate. Tomorrow morning I make the trek out to Burlington, NC to drop them off at freezer camp. I am very excited about this trip because the Animal Welfare Approved processors we use (Piedmont Custom Meats) just started rendering lard, smoking bellies, and also making hotdogs! So, I am a bit more excited than normal:)
Dropping the hogs off isn't the happiest day, as they truly will be missed on the farm, but I know they had an incredible life doing what pigs are supposed to do on our farm. We got them from a Smithfield CAFO (Confined Animal Feeding Operation) at only 10 weeks old, where they were born on metal floors in the dark, never having seen the sun, never having the opportunity to use the plow at the end of their nose to dig up the earth, and had no hope at all of a life that a hog should have. I have now been in multiple CAFOs, and they are truly a heart breaking sight. The building are long, and have many pens with all different sizes of hogs, each pen has up to 20 hogs, no more than 15ft of excess space in the entire pen, tails docked because of the aggression & boredom caused by penning up one of the most intelligent animals on earth, metal everywhere, cuts & scrapes completely covering their bodies, never allowing comfort in anyway, lights off and loud squeals coming from every side, and packed with thousands of hogs.
Hogs were created to be outside, to forage, to dig, to wallow, to bathe in the sun, to eat grubs and worms, to run and buck in the fields, to be a PIG. Our pigs here at Blue Whistler have a life filled with all of those things, and in return, they give us a huge amount of healthy pork, bones to make delicious and healthful broth, and amazing lard to cook & bake with. While I could really go into a lot more about the industrial food system, I want you to remember that you vote with your dollar. In order to shut these systems down, we must remember that it is done by individual families making the change to support a local farm. Find a farm, one that you can visit, and personally see how the animals are raised. It will do nothing but good for you.
I hope that you make the switch to sustainably raised pork, you will instantly taste the difference, and will enjoy the pork much more knowing that it was a happy, healthy animal thriving in the environment it was meant to live in, it got to do everything it was created to do everyday.
I will quote Joel Salatin a lot on this blog, and I recommend you check out his books, or maybe watch one of the documentaries he has been in like "Food Inc," or "Farmagedon".
''The industrial food system is so cruel and so horrific in its treatment of animals. It never asks the question: 'Should a pig be allowed to express its pig-ness?'' Joel Salatin
''Industrial agriculture, because it depends on standardization, has bombarded us with the message that all pork is pork, all chicken is chicken, eggs eggs, even though we all know that can't really be true.'' Joel Salatin.
Ill leave the post with this last quote by the incredible Dr. Grandin.
(Please also watch the movie Temple Grandin if you haven't seen it)
“I think using animals for food is an ethical thing to do, but we've got to do it right. We've got to give those animals a decent life and we've got to give them a painless death. We owe the animal respect.” Temple Grandin.
Butternut Squash Soup With Sage and Sausage
- 1/2 pound spicy bulk breakfast sausage
- 8 fresh sage leaves
- 1 pound butternut squash, peeled and chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 small carrots, chopped
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1/4 cup sherry
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup beef broth
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1/4 cup half-and-half
- freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- 4 teaspoons sour cream
- Cook and stir pork sausage in a large heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium heat until sausage is browned and crisp, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove sausage with a slotted spoon, leaving drippings in the pot. Brown the sage leaves in the hot drippings until crisp, about 30 seconds; remove sage leaves and set aside.
- Cook butternut squash, celery, carrots, and onion in the remaining sausage drippings until the vegetables are softened, stirring only one time after about 5 minutes. Pour sherry into the pot and stir to dissolve any browned bits of food on the bottom of the pot. Pour in chicken and beef broth and stir in brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice. Bring the soup to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer until squash is tender, about 20 minutes.
- Puree soup with an immersion blender, leaving a few chunks of vegetables. Pour in half-and-half and season with black pepper. Divide soup into 4 large bowls and top each serving with 1 teaspoon sour cream, cooked sausage, and 2 fried sage leaves.