Q: What does heritage breed mean?
A: According to the Livestock Conservancy "Heritage breeds are traditional livestock breeds that were raised by our forefathers. These are breeds of a bygone era, before industrial agriculture became a mainstream practice." These are the animals that were bred for good foraging abilities, fertility and maternal instincts, longevity, resistance to disease and parasites, hardiness and self sufficiency. These animals fell out of favor in recent years, and many were on the verge of extinction, because of their slower growth and inability to thrive in confinement barns. Modern agriculture is more interested in bigger and faster than slower and better. The Flying Pig celebrates the traits of the heritage breeds and is honored to play a small part to ensure their continued survival.
Q: What's the big deal about pasture raised?
A: Before modern agriculture all farm animals were raised outdoors in their natural habitat, soaking up the sun, eating a varied diet of seeds, nuts, roots, grasses, and bugs, and exhibiting their natural behaviors....rooting, grazing, scratching etc. There are many challenges that come with raising animals outdoors such as predators, weather and land management issues. Soon society found a way to raise a LARGE number of animals in a very small area...confinement barns. These barns cram hundreds or thousands of animals together under one roof. They are fed corn and soy and typically don't ever see the light of day. They become sick so they are given antibiotics. They are bored and will bite and peck one another so the farmers will cut off part of the chickens' beaks, and the pigs' teeth and tails. The mama pigs have no maternal instincts so they will accidentally lay on their babies. So they are put in tight farrowing crates so they can't move. But they grow FAST under these conditions. Fast=profit.
For us, that is a unacceptable. We respect and honor the animals by letting them act like animals. The chickens roam around the farm eating grass, seeds and bugs. The sheep are moved to a new pasture daily with fresh grasses to graze. The pigs root and wallow and spend their days laying in the sun. The sows make a nest of straw and farrow (give birth) where they choose. Never confined, they raise their piglets as they would in nature. Besides being the right thing to do, it's also healthier for the animals. Moved frequently from their waste to fresh ground keeps them healthier, happier and entertained.
It's also healthier for you! Animals raised outdoors eating a varied diet are nutritionally superior to their confinement counterparts. The meat and eggs are lower in fat and calories, have more Omega-3s (as much as 10x more!), CLAs (one of the most potent defenses against cancer), Vitamin E, Vitamin C and more concentrated antioxidants.
Q: Can I come to the farm?
A: Yes! We love to show people what we do here. We offer farm tours a few times per year so be on the lookout for those dates. They will be sent out in an email. So if you haven't already please sign up for our email list so you don't miss it!
We want to give you our undivided attention on your farm tour, and at this time we do not allow "self-guided" tours of the farm for your safety and the safety of our animals.
Q: What is the difference between bacon, jowl bacon and pork belly?
A: Traditional bacon, or "belly bacon", is what you typically think of when you think bacon. It is the meat and fat from the belly of the pig which is then smoked and cured into what you know and love with your Saturday morning breakfast. Pork belly is that same cut of meat but not smoked or cured. Pork belly is very popular in Asian and Hispanic cuisine and is gaining popularity in the States over the last several years. It can be braised, fried, and roasted or you can make your own bacon if you enjoy a tasty DIY project. Jowl bacon, also known as hog jowl, this is a cut that comes from the cheek of the pig. It is smoked and cured and has a very similar taste to traditional bacon. We enjoy dicing it into bits and using it as a delicious topping for salads, soups, baked potatoes, and greens.
Q: I bought your eggs a couple weeks ago and they were different than the ones I got yesterday. Why the change?
A: Yup! Absolutely! They ARE different. Depending on the time of year, or weather, or even how old the hens are, you may notice that the color of the yolks change or the shell's texture changes.
Welcome to the beautiful world of pastured, free range eggs!
Our society is so used to consistency with our food. McDonald's hamburgers taste the same no matter what city or state you are in.
Milk, eggs, butter, meat all look and taste the same no matter what time of year it is... This is a result of animals raised in confinement and eating nothing but corn and grain.
Food SHOULD taste different each season! The available food for the animals changes as the year progresses. Tender sweet grass in the spring. Mature grass and bugs in the summer. Nuts and seeds in the fall. Hay, roots and grain in the winter. Each of these will affect the appearance and flavor of the final product.
Eggs are no exception. Spring brings a flush of new grass growth and the yolks will show that with a dark orange color. Extreme heat in the height of summer stresses the hens, and they aren't able to produce those rock hard shells we love in the spring. The eggs are still delicious and full of nutrients all year though!
Embrace the season. Learn to love and appreciate the nuances of fresh local food.