Next Years Pigs

Last week, Henry, Cecily and I drove to Rockford, IL to pick up some more pigs. We decided to do ten Red Wattles this year. Last year we only did four and we are starting to regret that we don't have more meat, both for our own homes and for more experimentation -- especially after our two-year aged hams turned out so well.

The pigs are really big already. That is one nice thing about Red Wattles -- they grow fast and develop a nice flavor in relatively short period of time. Red Wattle hogs are also known for their hardiness and active foraging. I imagine that we will start processing the pigs this summer, perhaps in time to do a few dinners by late summer or early fall. We plan to leave some pigs in the field for longer, and, if everything goes right, we hope to try some breeding.

When we were in Rockford, the farmer we bought the pigs from mentioned that the Red Wattle was on the critical list of domestic endangered species, which means that there are less than 200 active breeders and less the 1200 breading pigs nationwide. Unlike wild endangered species, it is important for folks to actually eat endangered domestic animals. Demand for the meat helps ensure that breeders will continue raising these animals.

If you'd like to read more about Red Wattles, I found two websites, listed below, that have great information about Red Wattles and the current situation on their status.

From the Slow Food USA Ark of Taste 
The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy