Buying a Pork Share

| 12/30/2015 11:22:00 AM

Tags: buying pork, farm to table pork, Andrea Chesman, Vermont, Understory Farm,

When I tell people that I bought a half-pig share, I am looked at quizzically. What does that mean? How much meat will you get? How will you fit it all into your freezer? How do you know what you are getting? Do you save any money buying meat that way?

pigs in the woods

These Tamworth-Berkshire crosses enjoyed a diet of pasture and woodland forage, supplement with milk and non-GMO grain.  Photo by Jessie Witscher.

The answers — and the whole process, really — is pretty simple: You start at a farmers’ market, talking to farmers who sell meat. Chances are, if they sell cuts of meat, they will also sell half and whole pigs —if you order in advance. Since there are a limited number of slaughterhouses that handle meat from small-scale farmers, the farmers must reserve slaughtering/butchering time well in advance. For the half-pig I reserved in August, the only slaughter dates still available were at end of December. That was fine with me, allowing me plenty of time to organize my freezer.

How to Choose a Farmer and Prices for Whole-Pig Orders

My decision of which farmer to buy from was based on my feelings of trust for the farmer first, and then on price, breed, the pig’s diet, and whether I could fill out my own cut sheet.

1/20/2016 5:34:20 AM

I know that grass-fed beef is leaner than grain fed beef. How does pastured pork compare to grocery store pork? I feel like pork has gotten too lean and lacks the fat and flavor I remember as a kid.

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