So what is pastured pork? Maybe you've heard of pastured eggs or even pasture raised chicken or beef but pork? Let's discuss what goes into pastured pig production and why it's better than the typical pork produced in most of the world.
The Standard Approach
First let's start by looking at what most pork production in the world looks like. Most pigs raised in the world spend their entire lives inside huge metal buildings like the one shown below:
While this is actually pretty clean and non-crowded facility compared to many, it's a far cry from pastured pork.
Pigs are very smart, curious, and friendly animals. When they're in facilities like this, they get bored easily as it's impossible for them to do the things a pig was born to do like root and roll around in the dirt and mud. They often get agitated and stressed due to the being confined their entire lives and similar to humans, stress releases cortisol which affects the meat quality when the animal is processed.
Large facilities like this can also be breeding grounds for disease that affect both the pigs and humans in the worst cases. They also have to deal with large amounts of manure which are too often not disposed of properly and can pollute our rivers and lakes.
A Better Alternative
Pasture raised pork allows pigs to "express their pigness" as Joel Salatin puts it. They live their entire lives outside and get to do the things a pig was born to do, like rooting for treats and wallowing in a small mud hole. Here is a picture of a couple of our pigs enjoying the shade of a hedge tree in their current paddock.
Pigs can have a devastating impact on the land or a beneficial one. It all depends on how long they are left in one spot, the size/number of them, and the conditions of the land. We move our pigs every 1-2 weeks and are currently using them to help renovate a non-productive, ridged area of our land.
Here is a photo of some of the grass on this area:
As you can see in this photo, there is a marked line between where we had a pig paddock (right) and no pigs (left). There is more grass and less weeds where the pigs were versus where they weren't.
This is the awesomeness of using pigs to do the work that traditional farms use fossil fuels and chemicals to do. The pigs love the work and it makes some of the most delicious pork at the end of the process.
Hopefully this shows you the numerous reasons why pasture raised pork is beneficial to you, your family, the environment, and the pigs themselves.
If you're in the Lawrence, Topeka, or Kansas City metro areas and want to support our pasture based farm, click here to check out our online farm stand and order some pork today. We do weekly deliveries to each metro area where you can meet us and pick up your order.