Welcome to Week Ten!
Shirley had her piglets! Ten of them arrived just a lttle over a week ago and eight of them survived. It is not unusual that some piglets do not make it. Nature has a way of gently taking away those that are not strong enough to make the long haul.Shirley was bred with another full Berkshire pig away from the farm. Remember, she was the sow that lived somewhere else for a while. These piglets as you can see are pure black with white faces and feet, They are much smaller than the Berkshire/Duroc breed. Berkshires are smaller and they will grow slower. I am looking forward to seeing and tasting the difference.
The Japanese feed these pure bred pigs sweet potatoes after they are weened according to my friend, Taichi Kitamuro, owner and chef of Chiso in Freemont. It made sense to me. Yum! I am wondering if they should be cooked or raw. I am leaning towards cooked. Pigs have a digestive system very close to ours, so I will follow my instincts (I don't like raw sweet potaoes, so I think I will roast them) I will also rely on Shelly's advice. We have started feeding the piglets for our dinner apples. They are wondering what they are. The sows however, find the apples a real treat. The piglets will soon get with the program I'm sure.
Free range animals taste better because of their diet. That's why we pay more for free range animals, such as chickens, It's not just about their food, its mostly about the room they have to move around to dig for natural food.
As a chef I am so thrilled to have this opportunity to actually feed them product that will change their flavour. Not only do our pigs get to root in the dirt for bugs, and plants, but items such as sweet potatoes, apples, nuts and berries will be apart of their diet, This is a good life for a pig.
The piglets for our upcoming dinner were weened the other day. Violet is uncomfortable because her body is still producing milk. Her body will soon absorb the excess and soon she will feel fine. Although she is okay with the break from her piglets, their is still an adjustment process, not just physically but seperation anxiety is naturally present. Violet is just across the path from her piglets and she checks on them regularly. She is interested in what I am doing in their pen, Her grunting is directed towards me as I touch and coax them towards the grass I am feeding them.
Shelly points out the dimples in the piglets backs that are significant in the loin growth.The dimple is pronounced and growing. She also tells me the curly tail is telling us they are content and happy. As I patted one of the piglets and gently tugged on her tail, it immediately went straight. I guess the piglet was telling me something.
Shelly's information contstantly reminds me that the reason for these piglets is food. She is okay with that and so am I. My respect for the PIG continues to grow and I have just a few weeks before slaughter. I know that I am growing attached and slaughter will be difficult for me emotionally.
As I go through this process and continue to learn about the Pigs not only have I gained so much more respect for the animal, but for Shelly and Mike.
Their world with their kids Cosmo and Della, people, pigs and vegetables is kind, gentle and very grounding. I am proud of my pigs and the farmers who raise them. I am grateful that they have allowed me in to get a glimpse into their world of raising pigs.
I am thrilled to be able to soon say, that my signature dish at Brasa,
Roast Pig with Chorizo and Clams is from Whistling Train Farm, a local and sustainable farm. That for me is my greatest reward.
Again, April 20, 6:30 pm. Come and Celebrate Life of a Pig at Brasa.
Call 206-728-4220 for reservations.
Thanks for Visiting