Of Pigs and Acorns

Most people don’t want to know the story behind their morning bacon, but a new blog from Washington pork producer Wooly Pigs delves into its fascinating quest to raise European-quality pork. If you miss the Speck you had for breakfast in Vienna, this is the company to watch.

It’s a new one: Wooly Pigs currently offers Berkshire pigs for retail sales (yep, you buy a portion of a pig and hope you have the freezer space for it). The company’s passion, however, is for a breed called Mangalitsa, which has not been available in the United States in recent years. Mangalitsas are black and furry and ancient-looking, but their meat is said to be sublime. Wooly Pigs is already sending its products to such names as the French Laundry.

The blog is an interesting look into the concerns of a conscientious small meat producer—including how to slaughter without causing the animal undue stress (it impacts the quality and flavor of the meat). Wooly Pigs talks about the feed it uses: Acorns and similar nuts are great; corn and other grains that contain vegetable oils have too many polyunsaturated fats; herbs like oregano and sage provide antioxidants that help the meat keep longer.

It won’t be offering the Mangalitsa pigs—originally imported from Austria—until 2008, but interested parties are invited to visit the farm to see how the pigs are being raised. For those who do want to know where their bacon comes from, Wooly Pigs is the place to go. You can even watch videos of the pigs on the blog; is a webcam (à la nanny cam) next?

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