Sunday, January 9, 2011

Animal Husbandry

I take great pride in sourcing our products at Park Kitchen. This will be our third year of buying pork from Chris Roehm at Square Peg Farm in Forest Grove, Oregon. Chris pulls up in front of the restaurant with his pick-up truck on Wednesday morning, and we carry in a split hog to our wooden six foot work table. Last week's half pig weighed in at one hundred fifty two pounds, counting the head. This is the first pig from Chris' latest breeding cross between Berkshire and Chester. The meat is a proud burgundy red, as good pork should be, and the fat marbling makes this pork worth the premium price we pay for it.

I have a lot of good things to say about the animal husbandry at Square Peg. Chris has some happy pigs on his farm. They have open pasture most of the year, a diet of certified, local organic feed, and something you don't find on many small pig farms these days...piglets!! Chris breeds his own pigs rather than simply buying weaners from a commercial breeder. Of course, it's hard work mating and farrowing large animals. He has tried both methods, and found that breeding allows him to keep his animals in a steady and sustainable manner. He has more control over their heritage and their health from beginning to end, and a constant herd of animals keeps his income steady as well.

I could say more about why I like doing business with Chris. suffice it to say, it feels good when you collaborate with people who share your philosophy about responsible agriculture. It takes time to build relationships that work for the restaurants needs and the farmers means. Finding that balance and forming great relationships is worth the wait. If you'd like to know more about the life of Square Peg Farm, go to Chris' blog and see for yourself.

No comments:

Post a Comment