DIY







A Passion for Heritage Pigs

A burgeoning pig farmer perseveres through rough patches to provide pastured pork to farm-to-table restaurants.

| June/July 2017

It began innocently enough in the fall of 2015 at a Mother Earth News Fair at the Seven Springs Mountain Resort outside of Donegal, Pennsylvania. I was there as a small-town newspaper reporter covering the event. I attended a lecture on raising rabbits, watched someone demonstrate aspects of bushcraft, and rode a ski lift up the mountain. But it was in the livestock tent that I received that fateful bolt of inspiration.

There, I bumped into Dave Cronauer of White Bison Farm in Laona, Wisconsin. He stood next to a small, straw-filled enclosure where spotted piglets snoozed among half-eaten apples. He explained that they were a new heritage pig breed called the Idaho Pasture Pig — a mix of Berkshire, Duroc, and Kunekune that was developed specifically to thrive on grass.

Though I was working as a reporter in Wheeling, West Virginia, I’d moved back to my family’s recently vacated farm in nearby St. Clairsville, Ohio, to start a grass-fed cattle operation. My wife, Christine, was a newly minted Ph.D. in agricultural economics. And my grandfather had successfully raised commodity beef on the 150-acre property for years. But for various reasons, we couldn’t come up with a workable plan.

“But what about pigs?” I thought to myself as I finished up with the day’s reporting. I could start small with a trial run of two, making for the perfect first enterprise. I texted the chef-owner of a farm-to-table restaurant back home in the Ohio Valley and asked if he was interested in pastured pork.



As luck would have it, he was. We agreed on $3 per pound. And at 34 years old, I began my first venture into agriculture.

Six months later, my dream became 40 pounds of wriggling reality as Dave’s wife, Jodi, dropped a piglet into my arms. She carried the second back to our vehicle.






mother earth news fair 2018 schedule

MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Next: September 14-16, 2018
Seven Springs, PA

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!

LEARN MORE









Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

Money-Saving Tips in Every Issue!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).


Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard