Our pasture-raised pigs live outdoors at the edge of our old apple orchard, where they can rest in the shade of the trees or run out to the pasture and munch on plants. In 2016 we have raised fourteen pigs up from piglets.
The pigs love living on our farm because they get lots of treats from the veggie fields. An ugly carrot? A tomato with a soft spot? A twisty cucumber? The pigs love them! It’s a great way for us to “recycle” produce that we don’t have a market for. The pigs also eat a diet of grains, the plants growing in the pasture, and the apples that drop from the trees above.
Buying Pork from Hearty Roots Farm
Currently we have some pork for sale at our farm, by the cut. Stop by Wednesday afternoons during CSA pickup hours (3 – 6:30PM) or email us to arrange a time to buy pork by the cut. However, for the best value, you can reserve a pork share:
Our pork is available by the “half” or “quarter” of an animal. When you buy a pork share, you will receive a mix of cuts from the pig including pork chops, ham, bacon, a few types of sausage, ground pork, ribs, shoulder, and ground pork. If you like, you can also receive some of the more unusual cuts like fatback, neck bones, and organs.
When you buy meat by the “part animal”, pricing is a bit unusual. You will pay based on the “hanging weight” of the animal when it gets to the butcher, which is different from the final weight of pork cuts you will receive. Price per pound of hanging weight is $5.75 (half pig share) or $6 (quarter pig share). About 65-75% of the hanging weight comes back from the butcher as cuts, so in the end, you will be paying somewhere around $8 – $9.25 per pound for your mix of cuts, which is a good value for pastured pork.
Our butcher wraps pork chops and ground pork in butcher paper, and vacuum-seals all other cuts. The pork is delivered to you frozen, the butcher’s powerful freezers do a great job of freezing the meat quickly to preserve its quality well. A quarter share of pork is about 30 – 40 lb. of meat.
Sample of what might be included in a “quarter” pork share:
- 6 packs chops (avg. 1.5 -2lb / pack)
- 1 ham (avg 4.5 lb.)
- 1-2 ham steaks (1.5 lb.)
- 1 ribs or roast (3-5 lb.)
- 1 pork shoulder (4.5 lb.)
- 3 lb. linked sausage (breakfast, sweet italian and/or hot italian)
- 1 lb. Ground pork
- 5-6 lb. Bacon
A quarter pork share would require about 1 cubic foot of freezer space.
Payment and Timing
A $50 deposit reserves your pork share, either a half or quarter pig. Your total cost is based on the final weight of the pig, we will bill you when you pick up your pork share, the balance can be paid by check or charged to your credit card.
We will be processing the pigs in October. We will contact you to arrange a date and time to pick up your share at the farm; if you can’t make it to the farm, we can arrange to bring it to your CSA pickup site.
A pig that weighs about 220 lb. when it gets to the butcher will end up yielding about 140 lb. of cuts, i.e. pork chops, hams, sausages, shoulder and ribs.
- Hanging weight of half pig = 110 lb.
- Price you pay is hanging weight price: $5.75 x 110 lb. hanging weight = Approximate total price of $632.50 for your “half” pork share
- Approx actual yield of cuts = 78 lb, which means the average value of the cuts in your share would be about $8.10 / lb.
- Hanging weight of quarter pig = 55 lb.
- Price you pay is hanging weight price: $6 x 55 lb. = Approximate total price of $330 for your “quarter” pork share
- Approx actual yield of cuts = 36 lb, which means the average value of the cuts in your share would be about $8.35 / lb.
How we set our prices
Pastured raised pork is not as cheap as conventional, confinement raised pork. We don’t turn much of a profit on our pork sales, raising pigs out on pasture simply isn’t cheap.
Here’s the farm’s cost breakdown to produce a $10 cut of pork:
- $0.60 for shelter and fencing
- $1.07 to buy the piglets
- $0.27 veterinary cost
- $2.44 cost of grain for feed
- $2.33 cost of farmers’ labor
- $2.68 butchering cost and transportation
- $0.75 farm’s margin