Since before we bought the orchard in 2010, we’ve wanted to raise hogs among our apple trees, which is a traditional way of orcharding in England. Last year in 2018, that dream came true and we got to operate our “swinery” for the first time. We had such a great experience that we expanded to raising eight hogs this year.
We’re looking forward to providing them a great life. Our pigs eat a varied diet composed of mash, table scraps, lots of apples, clover, and other forage. They are starting their lives in a small pen with plenty of sunshine to keep them warm and will eventually rotate into a few spots in the orchard: first to prepare a site for planting more tart cherries next year; second to prepare a site for planting more pears next year; and then finally into the existing orchard in the fall to help clean up weeds and windfalls.
When we butchered our hogs last year, we realized that a good death is as important as a good life and though we wanted to expand this aspect of our operation, we didn’t want to load them up into a trailer and truck them to a butcher shop for their final hours. Stress makes for inferior meat quality, so it’s important to us that our hogs have a quiet, peaceful end at home. To that end, we’ve enlisted Mobile Meats for on-farm butchering.
These hogs are Hampshire/Duroc crosses. They should be hardy in the field and have a good balance of muscle and fat. Your cost is $3.95/pound hanging weight payable to us and about $1.00/pound hanging weight payable to Mobile Meats, which includes bacon, ham and sausage. The hanging weight of hogs like ours is usually about 170-190 pounds. You’ll be able to pick up your packaged meat here at the orchard on a date to be determined late this fall. Choose a half-hog for a deposit of $150 or a whole hog for a deposit of $300.