AKPR or AKKPS? Choosing a Breed Registry

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A lot of people new to Kunekune pigs have confusion about the breed registries. When we got started, I thought that AKPR handled the West coast, and AKKPS handled the East coast! There also seems to be the misconception that registries are only for show animals- and this couldn’t be more inaccurate. Whether you are showing or producing pork, registration is really important to track genetics!

There are two separate Kunekune breed registries- the American Kunekune Pig Registry and the American Kunekune Pig Society. Breeders can register with one, or with both. Pigs can be registered with one registry and transferred to the other, and pigs can be dual registered. As of July 1, 2020 AKPR won’t accept the registration or transfer of unwattled pigs into their herd book.

How to choose which registry to work with is up to you. With AKPR you get free litter notifications and registrations, but new rules (such as the highly controversial wattle regulation) may appear at any time, and you won’t have a vote or input in regards to such changes. With AKKPS, you pay for your paperwork, but any changes are voted on via surveys sent to the membership and then voted on by a member-driven board.

If I have missed anything in the two lists below, please feel free to comment with suggestions as to what you feel should be added!

 

American Kunekune Pig Registry (AKPR)

  • AKPR was founded in 2006
  • Cost is $40 per year
  • Herd book access, litter notifications, registrations AND transfers are FREE
  • As of July 1, 2020 unwattled pigs are not allowed to be registered. Wattles must be documented via photographs.
  • As of February 2020, teat counts are to be entered when registering a pig.
  • AKPR offers Junior memberships, where kids can be assigned their own herd prefix, own their own pigs, and show under their prefix at AKPR sanctioned events.
  • AKPR allows all newly imported bloodlines to be registered, and registered under their original name.
  • Herd book is public and can be viewed by anyone.
  • AKPR members are listed on the AKPR breeder list whether or not they register any pigs with AKPR or not.
  • Paperwork is electronic, meaning that you receive pig’s registrations through a digital document
  • Individual pig’s registrations can be transferred to a new owner by being signed over to them on the pedigree.
  • AKPR regularly sanctions shows and events for Kunekune pigs.
  • Upon joining AKPR, you’ll receive a herd book prefix unique to your farm name.
  • AKPR merchandise is available for purchase online

American Kunekune Pig Society (AKKPS)

  • AKKPS is a second official breed registry that went online in 2013
  • AKKPS is beginning to recognize Kunekune for pork, but prior to this has been more pet-focused. AKKPS offers “pet registrations” for altered pigs.
  • Cost is $40 per year
  • Litter notifications are $20/each. Registration is $15 per piglet or transfer.
  • AKKPS offers sponsor memberships, where breeders can purchase memberships for their customers.
  • AKKPS has some limitations on registration of newer bloodlines, and the Tutanekai bloodline is listed as “TF Mahia Love” in the AKKPS herd book.
  • Herd book access is restricted only to members.
  • Breeders are only listed on the breeder list if 80% of their pigs are registered with AKKPS.
  • Paperwork is sent via mail.
  • Transfers of pigs can only be initiated online via pig owner. Paperwork can’t be “signed over” to a new owner.
  • Upon joining you will receive a herd book prefix unique to your farm name.
  • AKKPS places topics up for discussion amongst members utilizing surveys, and then their board of directors votes on them, making them a member-driven organization, whereas AKPR makes changes voted on by their core officers, not their members.
  • AKKPS has a quarterly newsletter that provides education and features member farms and content
  • AKKPS merchandise is available for purchase online

 

No doubt, we have a unique farm model compared to most. Our small farm is based on rare and heritage breed conservation, while most small farms are based on producing healthy & wholesome locally produced food. The rare breed heritage pork we produce is dependent upon how strict we are with our breeding program, and as such it also gives us the flexibility to “cull hard”. In other words, to be able to remove certain animals from our breeding program based on their quality and adherence to the breed standard (and our farm’s goals) without stress or anxiety, as we know the animal will be utilized for breed-specific pork, which will in turn contribute to the breed conservation effort. We tell our pork customers, “Every bite of our pork helps us to continue our work with conserving the breeds we love”, and this couldn’t be more true. Our weekly pork sales keep our animals fed and hayed, and our farm running. Conservation through utilization is crucial for rare & heritage breed animals, because without a use or purpose for them, there is no reason for farmers to continue working with them. For our pigs, that use is pork. This is difficult for many people to understand.

Conservation breeding programs aren’t easy, and they don’t exactly lend themselves to efficient food production (smaller pigs, longer grow out times versus large pigs that grow fast- you get the picture, what we do is very much a niche, premium product). They require one to continually make tough decisions and look upon the animals in their herd with a keen and unforgiving eye. One cannot be wearing “rose colored barn glasses”, in which they see every animal as one that should be registered and sold. It often helps to enlist a second set of eyes, as it can be difficult to evaluate your animals with a critical eye, and it does take time to learn the visual and comparative skills necessary to make such judgment calls. We are, and always will be- learning, and refining our gaze. How we see our pigs will change from year to year, as we learn more and continue gaining experience.

We are several years in to working with Kunekune pigs, and they are our true love, above and beyond all breeds of swine. In wanting to do our very best work with the breed, we’re constantly seeking to improve the quality of our herd, and conducting a yearly herd cull in which we thin our herd and shift our focus based on the previous year. Anyone can breed two registered Kunekune pigs together, produce offspring, sell them as registered piglets, and be part of conserving a breed… but when it comes to this breed’s future, that isn’t enough. The Kunekune breed needs breeders who are extremely serious about the breed, willing to cull hard and make sacrifices (even if it means culling a registered breeder they paid a lot of money for!) and having a meat cull program, whether on site or in partnership with another farm.

To us, Breed Conservation means the following, and more…

 

Doing the best you can, with what you’ve started with. Not everyone is able to start off with the best of the best. In fact, most of us don’t start off this way.


Becoming a member of your breed’s society or registry. Membership has it’s perks!


– Working with registered stock. Papers DO mean everything in terms of breed conservation efforts. Documenting pedigrees and having the option for others to utilize the genetics you are working hard to produce on your farm, is important. Without DNA testing & registration, this becomes futile. Last year, we sold four homestead pairs to people we knew personally, for pork production use. This year and from now on, no unregistered intact pigs are leaving our farm. We don’t believe that working with or selling unregistered stock helps with our breed conservation goals (or anyone’s). This is our viewpoint, it is a controversial topic and others may feel differently. For us, we see our area inundated with cheap and poor quality unregistered pigs. Many are crosses, but people are led to believe they have bought and are working with Kunekunes. Many buy these for pork production and end up with small pigs that never make weight, or there are temperament issues related to pigs not being pure Kunekune. Then there are the aesthetics of conformation, which is a whole other topic.

Did you buy unregistered pigs when you started off? Only in very rare cases will a breeder who sells unregistered pigs be willing to register them for you. Only the breeder can register and truth be told, some people just don’t want to do it even though it is quite easy. In many cases, your unregistered pig probably isn’t registration quality, anyway. If you bought unregistered pigs, you have two choices: use those pigs to produce bacon bits for your farm’s pork production OR process those pigs and start over again with registered stock.


– Learning anything and everything you can about the breed’s history. For Kunekune pigs, this involves learning the breed’s history in New Zealand, as well as in the UK. Becoming familiar with the import history and the imported pigs.


– Retaining pigs and building your own herd. If you’re utilizing your original seed stock over and over again, and not retaining offspring to breed into future generations, then you’re only at the tip of the iceberg of conservation breeding. Conservation breeding always looks to the future and for us, is about developing our farm’s own characteristic lines that suit the needs of our climate, environment and usage.


– Having a cull program. For us personally, this involves registering or retaining for observation, only the best piglets. All others are ear-marked for our meat herd. We make promoting and selling our pork a top priority so that we will always have a market for our product.


– Focusing on your own unique breeding program and pork production, that is geared towards the demographic for your area. We don’t focus on pet sales, at all. This is just a personal choice, as well as a controversial topic. Conservation breeding is not about trying to price fix or control what other breeders do, nor is it about trying to force other breeders to do/see things the way you do. We all have different situations and business models. This blog post is just our opinion- not an end-all, be-all for Kunekune conservation breeding. Everyone will have a different situation, price structure and manner in which they work. The ultimate “seal of approval” is the legacy you leave behind as a breeder.  If you’re a bad breeder, people will stop working with you, period. The Kunekune community is small and close-knit. Honesty is always the best policy.


Making hard decisions, every year. Looking hard at the animals in your herd and what they have produced and deciding who stays and who goes. And by who goes… I don’t mean selling a problem pig to an unsuspecting buyer. I mean pigs that haven’t produced as hoped. These are ones that should be utilized for pork. Last year we culled numerous registered pigs, that we had paid a good deal of money or traded time/labor for. It was painful to do it, but there is no way to make forward progress in a breeding program without culling ruthlessly and making sacrifices.

Yes, they equated to the most expensive pork chops ever… but our herd is better off for it. And each year as we thin the herd for improvement, we will be producing stronger pigs in the future based on those decisions. We just did our 2018 cull and have 8 registered breeders slated for meat production. Four of them were purchased from another breeder and could certainly be sold to someone else, but at this point they are worth more to us in terms of meat sales, and if they don’t meet our goals, why pass them forward to someone else? Another four of them were pigs we had retained and registered, but who didn’t make the cut. Culling hard is the only way we are going to meet our goals. It’s already taking us longer to do it because of pitfalls related to registration mishaps and working with pigs that ultimately didn’t meet our farm goals.


– Making plans for the future, identifying the traits that are weak (and strong) in your herd, and what steps you need to take to improve upon them. This could include retaining more pigs with certain type traits, or planning to add future foundation stock that has the strengths you need to carry on.

 

What conservation breeding means to us will surely change as we grow and progress in our own breeding program. What does it mean to you?

Your gilt or sow’s farrowing is always a miraculous time. It can also be a worrisome time if you’re new to pigs! We were once new to all of this too, but thankfully have had some great mentors and we are constantly learning and adding to our knowledge base.
A piglet just seconds after birth. Note the deciduous hoove capsules (Eponychium), they are a rubbery texture that protect the sow from being injured by sharp hooves, during birth. They fall off within several minutes.
We keep the following items on hand just in case they’re needed. And our vet’s emergency number is always handy! We rarely need to use all of these things- in fact, most farrowings use the puppy pee pads, towels, bulb syringe, scissors and iodine only. As well as milk and electrolytes for the sow.
Prior to farrowing, our gilts & sows have been vaccinated with Rhinishield TX4 (5cc at 5 weeks before farrowing and a second booster of 5cc at 2 weeks prior), and wormed with Dectomax (intramuscular injection) OR Ivomec (subcutaneous injection). We carefully monitor their diet for the last few weeks, to ensure they are not overfed, which can result in large piglets that can potentially become stuck.
Our farrowing kit usually includes:

– puppy training pads to soak up birthing fluids

– white flour sack towels to dry off piglets

– a large towel/blanket or two

– clean bulb syringe

– nitrile gloves

– lubricant

– iodine/betadine

– vet wrap to wrap your sow’s tail if you wish to keep it clean (farrowing can get pretty messy!)

– Hoof trimmers (Use your sow’s down time to give them a little pedicure!)

– small scissors to cut umbilical cords

– a basket or tote to place piglets in if necessary

– beer (Can be used for calming a sow but it can go either way- not always the desired result)

– melatonin (Can be more effective than a beer to calm a sow, great trick learned from Bill Garlough/Ohio Valley Kunekunes)

– Oxytocin + (syringes, needles and alcohol prep pads)

– Calcium Gluconate injectable, if labor is progressing slowly

– Meloxicam or Banamine (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory, given to sow if pain or swelling presents)

– electrolytes for sow ( Manna Pro Bounce Back)

– Karo syrup (rub on sow’s gums to keep energy up)

– Milk or dairy (given to sow for a few days before/after)

– Penicillin

– trash bags or pail to dispose of trash and/or afterbirth

– powdered colostrum

– goats milk (in case of milk issues)

– Piglets receive the following shots in their first week of life: Ferrodex 100 injectable iron (Day 3) & RespiSure 1 ONE for Swine (Day 7)

Last but not least, you should have a plan for humane euthanasia, in case you have any piglets born that are deformed, or with birth defects that will prevent them from having quality of life.

Something tasty is marinating!

Sticky ginger sesame ribs from our rare breed heritage pigs & riblets is what’s for dinner! We’re pairing them with a farm-grown romaine salad with a sesame dressing. Our ribs and riblets are smaller in size, so they are easy to thaw, marinate and prepare. How do you like your ribs?

Update- these ribs were a hit. For some reason, our customer demographic doesn’t purchase riblets, so we’re always looking for great recipes to prepare them with. I think if more people knew how delicious they were, they’d fly out of the freezer quite fast!

Get the recipe HERE.

Part of a modern farmer’s job is showing you delicious, seasonal things that you can cook with our products!

I love to cook and wish I could cook like this every day. Alas, my days are usually much more simple and speedy fare with the hectic schedule that we keep.

This is a fresh Meishan ham steak (fresh, not cured thin sliced pork steak) marinated overnight in a yogurt/honey/garlic/turmeric mixture and pan-seared about 3 minutes per side. If this were supermarket pork, you’d says “gosh, that’s raw!” But this is heritage pork, that starts off as red as beef… so the finished color is also pink, not white. This is just my preference for cooking, I consider this to be “medium”.

We fixed this over jasmine rice, with a chilled beet and snow pea salad over the top, using Chioggia and golden beets from the garden, green onion, and snow peas. It was delicious!

If you’d like snow peas or beets to pick up at the Saturday market, send me a PM. I’ll be custom-harvesting beets for customers who’d like to purchase, because my beet harvest is limited.

Get the recipe HERE.

I posted this on Instagram the other day, while we were set up at the farmers market. My post was a reaction to a common situation that small farmer’s face- being made to feel that our product is too expensive, but seeing those same people who hold that notion- spending money freely on items that they perceive to have value. In this example, that item was expensive coffee drinks. I got some hassle online over this example, because some felt my example wasn’t fair because I didn’t show the cost and labor breakdown for what it took to produce that cup of coffee, such as beans being grown and roasted, or a cup being manufactured. That’s not what this example is about. In it’s simplest terms, this example is about how we live in a society that will readily drop $8 on a unicorn frappuccino or other fancy beverage, but tell a small farmer that their pasture raised eggs, pork, beef or chicken- are too expensive.

My post was met with resounding agreement by other farmers. If you’re a consumer who feels that pastured meats are too expensive, I understand that financially you may not be able to afford the meats that small farmers such as my son and I raise. That’s alright- you can still be an advocate and supporter for small farms, and support your local farmers market. I strongly believe that we should be eating higher quality meat, even if it means eating less meat! If you’re a consumer that is financially able to spend $8 on sausage, but sees no value in it, then please consider the hard work, passion and time that goes into the production of pastured proteins, and how humane farming is so important in comparison to the alternative- government subsidized factory farming, where animals are farmed en masse indoors, and never see outdoor or pastured conditions. Please don’t make small farmers doing it the right way- feel badly about what they need to charge for their product.

Please note that the sausage in this post reflects the price of premium/gourmet linked sausage for MY area. I know farmers raising heritage crosses to 6 months old, and charging this for linked sausages. We raise rare Kunekune and Meishan pigs to 12-18 months old, which are smaller pigs by nature- and we are still charging $12. Price of sausage in your area may be different- please don’t get stuck on the price of the product and overlook the message of the post, the fact that as a society we have a disparity in our perception of what food items have more value than others.

 

The original post:

This cappuccino was made in minutes and cost over $5. This pack of garlic bratwurst costs $8.76 and took over a year for the pig to grow out. Most breeds reach market weight by 6-7 months. Our rare breed Kunekune and Meishan pigs take 12-18 months- and they are still a smaller pig with a lower yield than what most pastured pig farmers work with.

The pig was fed by us over 300 times, and watered twice a day or more by us, in all weather both freezing, and torrid hot.

We checked on the health of the pig daily, and then drove two hours each direction to deliver the pig to our processor, and two hours back.

Then we made that trip again to pick up the meat and pay our processing bill, which for two pigs that hung at 160 pounds each, was $581 (normal costs for our geographic region for dispatch, vacuum sealing, sausage blending, sausage linking, curing, and specialty ingredient costs).

Then we unpacked the meat and store it in freezers that cost $500 each, and pay the electricity to run them.

Every time we go to the farmers market, we leave the farm with a truck packed with coolers of meat, set up our tent and table display, and then sit for hours meeting and greeting customers and selling our pork.

This is why sausage is $12 per lb. This is what humanely raised, rare breed pork actually costs.That is a premium price, but it reflects what we need to receive in order to be able to continue farming, feeding our animals and having some money to put back into our farm.

I can’t put a time estimate on the amount of labor put towards maintaining fencing and structures, driving to purchase feed and hay, growing produce and other food for the pigs, driving to pick up loads of apples or pumpkins. We bring piglets into the world, sleeping in the barn for the first few nights of their lives, to make sure they all survive those first critical days. We see the pigs every single day, multiple times a day until it is their time to bless us with their sacrifice, and provide good, clean, properly raised pork for our community.

Most people think meat is cheap and easy to produce. It isn’t. It is back breaking and heart wrenching work, especially to do it properly and humanely, while being good stewards to the land.

I know we are not alone in our plight to educate the public about the true cost of our product. Society has trained us that meat is cheap, and fresh vegetables are expensive. Think about that for minute. We live in a society where people don’t think twice about spending $8 on a unicorn frappuccino, but may consider the same dollar amount spent on locally and humanely raised pork, chicken, beef, eggs or produce… to be too much money. Real food raised by small farmers.

© 2018 Cristiana Calderan Bell, Corva Bella Farm

Greetings!

Corva Bella Farm is a small permaculture farm located in Oconee County, SC. We are unique from other pork-producing farm models in that our farm’s main focus is rare breed conservation. We maintain the largest and most genetically diverse herd of registered Kunekune pigs in the state of South Carolina, and we also work with rare and critically threatened Meishan pigs.

Our pork is also unique. It’s deep red and marbled, with firm and flavorful fat. Pastured pork fat is one of the healthiest fats in the world, believe it or not! The pork we make available is part of our conservation breeding program, where we strive to allow only the best examples of the breed move forward in our herd, or other farm’s breeding programs. Pigs that are weaker in breed characteristics, or not well-suited for breeding, become members of our meat herd.

At this time, we work on a very small scale, and only have enough pigs growing out to be able to offer retail cuts, sausages and dry cured bacon for sale direct to consumers. We don’t have enough pigs to offer whole or half hogs, roasting pigs, or to sell to chefs. These are all things we hope to transition into being able to do in the near future, as the infrastructure of our young farm expands, and we grow slowly without stressing our natural resources.

We did several farmers markets last year, and it was very difficult for us. As farmers, we have limited resources in that we’re a Mother/Son team. I’m also a single parent who homeschools and works a second job to make farming possible, as my Son more than anything wants to work in agriculture. He is currently 16 and we hope to have our farm at a stage in two years, where Connor can begin to take on a major role in crafting an agricultural career, working with our established breeding stock, and providing our unique craft pork on a wider scale, to high end chefs who want to elevate our breed-specific pork through snout to tail, whole hog artistry, as well as offering premium pig roasts, and potentially charcuterie.

For now, we dream of the future and work hard to educate others about the breeds we work with, and the unique pork that we provide. In lieu of being unable to attend more than one farmers market per week, we are hoping to set up a weekly delivery service to Greenville, SC. We don’t have the online reach to do this on our own. We need your help!

We are trying to determine the best date, time and place for such a delivery to take place. We used to live in Greenville so have basic geographic familiarity with the city and outlying areas. Our dream is to be able to take pre-paid pork orders throughout the week, and then on a weekly basis, make the two hour round trip into Greenville, to our delivery point, and within a set time window, meet you so that you can pick up your orders.

If you are interested in placing an order and being a part of our delivery, please send me a message through the form below! Underneath that form, I’ve included more information about our pork- price lists, photos of the product raw and also cooked.

You can also learn more about our pork here. And how we care for and feed our pigs, here.

 

 

Check out photos of our pork, both raw, and prepped or cooked into various dishes. Choose our pork for your next special occasion!

Let’s MEAT UP this Saturday, from 2-3 PM at Pumpkintown’s Mountain Market! We are now offering pork delivery to Pumpkintown during the market, so you can pick up your rare breed pork and enjoy the market!

This week, we have our full range of premium rare breed heritage cuts, as well as six types of gourmet linked sausages, and dry cured bacon. (See photos for list of varieties and also price list)

Delivery date is pending a minimum delivery total of $100 for all combined orders from all customers, because it’s a 90 minute round trip for us to Pumpkintown.

Please send me a PM if you have any questions, or would like to put together an order. I’ll get together the cuts and items you’d like, and message you back with a price. Payment is pre-paid, via paypal invoicing (you don’t need a paypal account to pay).

Then, we meet on Saturday from 2-3 PM and I’ll have your order bagged up and ready to go in my cooler!

I hope to make it to Pumpkintown for a “meat up” every week. Let’s make this happen. Put rare breed heritage pork on your fork!

Check out photos of our pork, both raw, and prepped or cooked into various dishes. Choose our pork for your next special occasion!

Market season has begun, and with it we continue our work ardently educating our customers about our breed conservation efforts and how our pork is different. This is our greatest challenge, as people are so used to seeing pork as a cheap, white, readily available meat. We are going against the grain, and it’s not easy to change mindsets.

 In the South, it’s not uncommon for even small farmers to raise pigs in confinement, on concrete- or in a small pen. Some folks are always surprised that our pigs are free ranging, or that they are smaller in size, or that we don’t sell “whole hog sausage” for $3/lb. We live in a society where meat is seen as a cheap commodity, while vegetables are seen as a luxury. Most customers will readily spend $4-5 per pound for fresh broccoli, but balk at spending $12/lb for a beautiful & marbled nutrient-rich pork chop that took 12-18 months and a whole lot of hard work, love and dedication to produce.
 .
The reason for this is that we are trained to expect meat to be cheap. And factory farms pump out millions of animals per year to meet that cheap, government subsidized demand. What most consumers don’t understand is that the vast majority of large-scale agriculture, from corn & wheat to pork & beef out of confinement buildings and feed lots- is government subsidized. You do pay more for that meat, you just don’t realize where your tax dollars are going. Factory farms unfortunately are necessary to meet demand, but as consumers we always have the choice to take our buying power where we wish, and keeping dollars local and invested in small farms is the smart choice for sustainability and our local economy!
 Our pork is a premium product, that you won’t find at any grocery store and you may not even be able to find a product like it at most farmer’s markets. It is unusual for a small farm to be centered solely around rare breed conservation and working with smaller pigs with long growout times and smaller meat yields- but here we are, doing just that.
 .
The topic of confinement pork- what almost all “supermarket pork” is, always comes up at the farmers market. Factory farmed pork consists of thousands of pigs being raised indoors, in an enclosed space. There is no comparison between this and what pastured farmers do!
 .
In our case, we also factor in the unique meat and fat quality of our rare breed pigs. Both the Kunekune and Meishan pigs produce intricately marbled meat- the equivalent of being the “Waygu beef of the pork world”.
.
How are our pigs different?
.
  • Unlike supermarket pork, our pigs are bred for taste rather than leanness. They are an old fashioned style pig, known as a “lard breed”.
  • Our pork is different by sight alone- the deep red color is both inherent to the breed’s genetics, as well as the slow, outdoor rearing.
  • Pigs reared outdoors, and raised slowly (12-18 months) results in excellent marbling and intramuscular fat, creating incredibly tender pork.
  • Slow growth means a tastier product.
  • Our are happy pigs, and happy pigs taste better. We’d never consider raising pigs in a tiny pen, indoors, or on concrete. Ours are reared outside, free ranging on pasture and in the forest. Piglets stay with their mothers until 6-10 weeks of age depending on breed, litter size, and sow condition.
  • Kunekune and Meishan pigs are bred by a few select breeders who prioritize the breed’s purity, conformation and traceability via pedigreed registration.
  • In buying rare breed pork, you are helping to create demand for rare breeds in need of conservation, which in turn will encourage breeders to continue working with these amazing animals to meet demand for both breeding stock and meat stock!
  • In short, every bite of our pork helps to conserve the breeds we work with. It makes it possible for us to continue our work, manage the intricacies of our breeding program, and do our best work possible.
Thank you for putting rare breed heritage pork on your fork!

 

Market season has begun, and with it we continue our work ardently educating our customers about our breed conservation efforts and how our pork is different. This is our greatest challenge, as people are so used to seeing pork as a cheap, white, readily available meat. We are going against the grain, and it’s not easy to change mindsets.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 In the South, it’s not uncommon for even small farmers to raise pigs in confinement, on concrete- or in a small pen. Some folks are always surprised that our pigs are free ranging, or that they are smaller in size, or that we don’t sell “whole hog sausage” for $3/lb. We live in a society where meat is seen as a cheap commodity, while vegetables are seen as a luxury. Most customers will readily spend $4-5 per pound for fresh broccoli, but balk at spending $12/lb for a beautiful & marbled nutrient-rich pork chop that took 12-18 months and a whole lot of hard work, love and dedication to produce.
 .
The reason for this is that we are trained to expect meat to be cheap. And factory farms pump out millions of animals per year to meet that cheap, government subsidized demand. What most consumers don’t understand is that the vast majority of large-scale agriculture, from corn & wheat to pork & beef out of confinement buildings and feed lots- is government subsidized. You do pay more for that meat, you just don’t realize where your tax dollars are going. Factory farms unfortunately are necessary to meet demand, but as consumers we always have the choice to take our buying power where we wish, and keeping dollars local and invested in small farms is the smart choice for sustainability and our local economy!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 Our pork is a premium product, that you won’t find at any grocery store and you may not even be able to find a product like it at most farmer’s markets. It is unusual for a small farm to be centered solely around rare breed conservation and working with smaller pigs with long growout times and smaller meat yields- but here we are, doing just that.
 .
The topic of confinement pork- what almost all “supermarket pork” is, always comes up at the farmers market. Factory farmed pork consists of thousands of pigs being raised indoors, in an enclosed space. There is no comparison between this and what pastured farmers do!
 .
In our case, we also factor in the unique meat and fat quality of our rare breed pigs. Both the Kunekune and Meishan pigs produce intricately marbled meat- the equivalent of being the “Waygu beef of the pork world”.
.
How are our pigs different?
.
  • Unlike supermarket pork, our pigs are bred for taste rather than leanness. They are an old fashioned style pig, known as a “lard breed”.
  • Our pork is different by sight alone- the deep red color is both inherent to the breed’s genetics, as well as the slow, outdoor rearing.
  • Pigs reared outdoors, and raised slowly (12-18 months) results in excellent marbling and intramuscular fat, creating incredibly tender pork.
  • Slow growth means a tastier product.
  • Our are happy pigs, and happy pigs taste better. We’d never consider raising pigs in a tiny pen, indoors, or on concrete. Ours are reared outside, free ranging on pasture and in the forest. Piglets stay with their mothers until 6-10 weeks of age depending on breed, litter size, and sow condition.
  • Kunekune and Meishan pigs are bred by a few select breeders who prioritize the breed’s purity, conformation and traceability via pedigreed registration.
  • In buying rare breed pork, you are helping to create demand for rare breeds in need of conservation, which in turn will encourage breeders to continue working with these amazing animals to meet demand for both breeding stock and meat stock!
  • In short, every bite of our pork helps to conserve the breeds we work with. It makes it possible for us to continue our work, manage the intricacies of our breeding program, and do our best work possible.
Thank you for putting rare breed heritage pork on your fork!