Welcome to Week Two of Life of a Pig.
My cooks and I headed down to the farm on Thursday. They are very excited about this project and are very much a part of the reason I am doing this.
Educating our young cooks is key to ensuring that our next culinary generation will embrace sustainability, respect and support the family farm.
Pigs are domesticated mammals in the swine family. They are raised in almost every part of the world for food, but they cannot live where it is very dry. Pigs are also called swine and hogs. Pigs have two enlarged canine teeth that grow out of their mouths to make tusks.
There are two species of wild swine, one in Europe and the other in Asia. Pigs were first domesticated in China about 9000 years ago. Later, Europeans domesticated pigs. Then Christopher Columbus, Hernando de Soto, and other Spanish explorers brought them to the western hemisphere. Modern wild razorbacks, in the American South, descend from the pigs these explorers found to farm.
If you feel a pig's nose which I did for you and for me, the top is very tough, but the underneath is very soft. Its nose works like a shovel to help it root in the dirt. I am suspecting that this is a very necessary tool used in finding truffles. Its nose is very sensitive and has an acute sense of smell also another reason why they can 'root out' this culinary delicacy. Their hearing is uncanny and you cannot sneak up on them. These two senses keep them safe in the wild as their tiny eyes do not do much for them. They are very intelligent and outsmart our loyal friend the dog.
A mother pig carries her babies for a little less than 4 months. Commercially raised pigs are a profitable livestock because they are ready to slaughter at six months.
I take my pigs at about ten to twelve weeks. Shelly and Mike ween them at about six weeks for me. They are not rushed and benefit from the nutrients of the sows milk. Then we will decide what to finish them on. These piglets will be finished on a diet of organic apples, berries and nuts.
Commercially raised pigs are typically weened at three weeks and the piglets are fed corn, soybeans, other beans and aniamal products for the next 5 or so months. The sows are ready for breeding again right after their piglets are weened.
In Meet and Greet I wrote that Violet( the sow) is a Berkshire and Rusty (the boar) is a Duroc.
The modern Berkshire breed was developed in Britain as a specialist pork pig in the middle of the nineteenth century. The basic unimproved animals from which it derived were short-legged and rather fat pigs (also known as Berkshires) which had evolved by crossing British pigs with Chinese stock introduced into Britain in the 1700s.
During the nineteenth century the breed was refined to an early-maturing black pig, often with white on its short legs and dished face. It was extremely popular, and a Breed Society was formed in 1885.
This rare breed produces a dark colored and marbled meat.
The Duroc grows the fastest of all the breeds. Rusty is four years old and weighs aproximately 1000 pounds. That should give you a good idea about how fast they grow. Rusty as you can see from his photograph is pure muscle. Shelly and Mike conclude that breeding the two creates a fast growing, healthy and very tasting pork. I agree.
Log in next week and learn more. Stay tuned for the big "Celebration of a Pig's Life." @ Brasa
Thanks for visiting,