We receive a lot of queries at the farmers markets we do, so I thought it would be fun to create a running list of frequently asked questions, so that you can learn more about us!
- What does Corva Bella mean?
My grandfather was born in Corva, Italy and I’m second generation Italian-American. Seven years ago Connor and I were blessed with being able to live in Italy for an entire summer, and it truly influenced our lives. We also visited Corva. CORVO is the word for “crow” in Italian, hence our crow logo. My Father’s last name is “Bell”, so basically Corva Bella brings together both sides of my family tree, and pays homage to my Grandfather and our Italian roots.
- Do you have a farm store?
No, we don’t have a farm store. We’re a new and growing farm and I work a second job and also homeschool Connor. A farm store isn’t something that’s a possibility at this time.
- Do you deliver?
We don’t deliver, our farm is very small in terms of production, and we’re not yet at the point where we can hire someone to deliver our meats.
- Can I come to the farm and pick up meat?
Of course! As long as we arrange ahead of time when you’re coming. Because we have a busy schedule here on the farm, surprise visits don’t work well. Also, in the interest of your safety, we need to know that you are coming because of our livestock guardian dogs. Please send a message or email (email@example.com) with the items you’re interested in, and we’ll put together an order for you. Because we maintain strict biosecurity, we meet customers at our farm gate.
- How big is your farm?
We get this question a lot! Our farm is very small by traditional farm standards. As our land was not inherited, all that we could afford to start off with was ten acres. Several years ago our land was completely wooded and/or scrub brush. We are slowly returning it to agricultural use using permaculture principles.
- How many pigs do you have?
We maintain registered breeding stock for two rare breeds of pigs- the Kunekune and the Meishan. We have the largest and most genetically diverse herds of both breeds, in the entire state of South Carolina. Our breeding stock is approximately 20-25 pigs, and meat pigs/litters of piglets on the ground/grow outs of potential breeders is about 30-50 at any given time.
- How did you get into this line of work?
I’ve always been happiest living in the country, and as a teenager worked at a small family dairy farm for four years. My grandparents both farmed and gardened, and Connor is passionate about farming and would like it to grow into a profession. We were introduced to Kunekune pigs through 4H several years ago, and it blossomed from there. Our hope is that one day I can quit my other job, and the farm can be a full time family joint effort.
- Do you have bacon?
We don’t have bacon at this time due to meat handling regulations and red tape. Our processor doesn’t do bacon right now, either. We hope one day we can offer you some amazing bacon, but from what I’ve discovered after speaking with one of the largest pastured pork producers in our area, who has access to a million dollar DHEC kitchen at his on-farm restaurant facility, is that it’s difficult even for him, so he disbanded the idea long ago. Bacon and any cured meats are very difficult to bring to fruition, which is why charcuterie is such a popular hobby. We encourage you to purchase pork belly or other prime cuts and smoke or cure meats on your own!
- Do you have bulk sausage or ground pork?
We don’t at this time. Our meat production is currently very small. We only processed 15 pigs this year, and the rare breeds we work with are smaller pigs. Example: a typical farm pig or heritage breed cross (Tamworth, Duroc, Old Spots, etc) will reach 250 lbs by 6 months old. At 6 months old, our Kunekune pigs might be 40-50 lbs and our Meishan pigs will only be about 125-150. We see our pork as a artisan, craft pork. It’s premium pork- beautifully red and marbled. Turning our pigs into ground pork or bulk sausage feels like a dishonor to them, so we work hard to come up with special sausage recipes, which our processor then blends and puts into casings.
- Do you butcher your own pigs?
We can’t butcher pigs and then sell you the meat, this is illegal. We take our pigs to Fosters Meats in Duncan, SC for processing. They have USDA inspection and are Animal Welfare Approved. We have our meat handlers license certification and receive regular inspections.
- Do you make the sausage?
We work on the recipes, then our processor uses the range of ingredients to create the sausage in 25-50 lb batches. Occasionally a sausage recipe will be a house recipe from our processor, such as our traditional breakfast links.
- Why is your meat more expensive?
Our meat reflects the true cost of raising rare heritage breed pigs on pasture/forest, with a broad range of feed inputs, for an extended period of time. We receive no subsidization under which to produce our meats, and we aren’t a factory farm.
- Do you do “whole hog sausage”?
Not at this time, because our beautiful deep red and marbled rare breed heritage pork begs to be cut into prime cuts for your table. Thick cut bone-in pork chops, ribs, fresh ham steaks, shoulder roasts, pork belly, and more… if we did whole hog sausage, we’d lose the chance to feature these gorgeous cuts of meat.
We’ll be adding more questions every week…. have a question? Feel free to ask!