Pork

close up pig on grassy pasture

Here at BOTL Farm, we raise many fine animals, but if we have to say we focus on one species in particular, it’s pigs. Pigs are delightful animals who are delicious, intelligent, curious, and will sing us songs as we walk to new paddocks together. Unlike many farms who raise pigs, we are a farrow-to-finish farm, which means that we breed sows who give birth on farm (and on pasture) to piglets. We raise the piglets from birth to market weight.

Large_Animal-Welfare-Approved-by-AGW

They are Animal Welfare Approved by A Greener World, raised on pasture and in forest (eat the forest, pigs!) for their entire lives, all year round, so they’ve never seen the inside of a barn. The pigs are fed a corn-free, soy-free, non-GMO, organic feed, on which they grow for 7-9 months to a finishing weight of 200-300 lbs.

Breeds

Like the rest of our livestock here at BOTL Farm, our pigs are heritage breed. We’ve put a lot of thought into what specific breed of pigs to raise. All of our pork comes from pigs with a mix of Mangalitsa, Large Black, and a lil’ something else. Why this mix?

pig on snowy background

Mangalitsa

Originally from Romania/Hungary region, this breed, when pure-bred, is so hairy they look like a cross between a pig and a sheep. Having pigs that are part Mangalitsa makes them just-the-right-amount of furry for us, which adds to their hardiness and cold tolerance during winter. The side benefit is that they have been carefully bred for world-class quality, delicious-tasting fat as well! Mangalitsas are quite slow-growing, but to us the benefits are worth the time required.

pigs eating greens

Large Black

Large Black pigs are a breed that are, perhaps unsurprisingly, large and black. They have characteristically ‘lopped’ ears which look like giant eyeshades and grow very long, lithe torsos. They’re known for being friendly, even docile, pigs as well as fantastic mothers on pasture. This probably stems from their high drive to find and consume forage, which keeps them happy when pasture-raised and sad when not. The sows and their piglets have excellent, calm dispositions that make them a delight to work with each day. This breed is also slow-growing, although not quite so much as Mangalitsa.

Pig eating grass

Berkshire / Other

To balance the lard-y, slow-growing Mangalitsa and Large Black breeds in our pigs, we also use a leaner, slightly faster-growing breed. This is often Berkshire, but we occasionally use Red Wattle or Duroc as well. These breeds most likely originate from England and were bred to be well-muscled and have superior muscle quality.

What the Pigs Eat

A pig who can’t use their powerful nose to root around in the grass, or push rocks around, or work on landscaping projects, or dig for grubs, is not a happy pig. This is why we never keep pigs indoors or on dirt lots or confined in pens, since in these situations they can’t use their noses to manipulate their environment in this way that is so primal, so vital to them. During all this rooting and foraging, they discover and eat all sorts of things including grasses, legumes, sedges, roots, shrubs, small trees, nuts, flowers, grubs, worms, and well, really anything they can find. In the winter when the ground is frozen, they lose the ability to dig in the ground so we provide them hay to manipulate and eat.

piglet in tall grasses

But (most) pigs won’t thrive on grass and forage alone. We feed a grain-based ration that is custom designed and milled for our farm. It’s corn-free, soy-free, non-GMO, and certified organic. The main feed ingredients are field peas, wheat, barley, and alfalfa. These are balanced with Fertrell company swine nutrient mix that includes vitamins, minerals, salts, and probiotics. We add a little Icelandic Kelp to their feed to boost their trace minerals and omega acids.

What We Make

Cuts

Our cuts are typically bone-in with 0.25-0.5 inch fat cap (for things like pork chops and roasts) and we have loose sausages, sausages in 0.25 lb patties, and linked sausage. We have a deep commitment to making bacon, so we have regular (belly) bacon, Canadian bacon, pork roll/cottage bacon (also known as shoulder bacon), bacon ends, and jowl bacon. Besides the other typical cuts (spareribs, babyback ribs, country-style ribs, tenderloin, kabob, ground, fresh belly, fresh jowl, etc.) we also sell “everything but the oink.” This includes heart, tongue, head, feet/trotters, back fat, bones, organs, etc. Finally, we sell pork bone broth, bacon bone broth, rendered lard, and good-for-pet items like crispy pig ears and tails. Yum!​

Meat in a basket

Meat Boxes and Bulk

Want an assortment of cuts but don’t want to pick them out one-by-one?
Want a larger amount of pork at once and have the room to store it?
Want to commit to a large amount of pork at once but don’t have the room to store it?
We have a solution for all these: consider a pre-made box, a large meat box, or a meat CSA. See this page for options and details!

Meat in a box

What We Don’t Sell

Whole and Half Pigs

Want a whole or half pig? Because of limitations imposed at the slaughterhouse we use, we can’t offer whole or half pigs for purchase. However, we can put together (mostly) any size FrankenPig “Box” for you from our current inventory.
Want a roaster pig? Unfortunately, we do not offer roaster pigs.

Piglets

Want live piglets? Want breeding sows? We don’t sell them. In accordance with our farm’s humane standards, we ONLY sell live animals to a farm with a current Animal Welfare Approved certification for the species they want to purchase.

Nutritional Benefits of Pasture-Raised Pork

This is a fact sheet from FACT (Food Animal Concerns Trust) and highlights some of the nutritional benefits of pasture-raised pigs compared to conventionally-raised (aka in a barn or building or concrete slab or cage) pigs. We love a good FACT fact sheet!

Page Last Updated on 2024-04-26

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