Farmers' Kitchen—Porcine Preparation

David Hull and family

Written on

February 13 , 2015

At our farm here in Newfane, the pigs are the favorites of all of us. The lambs and goat kids don’t really give us the time of day, and our girls get a little nervous trying to pet the steer like I do. But the pigs are always happy to have us around. A good belly pat, a chuck under the chin, or an ear scratch can get a pig grunting contentedly, flopping on its side, and kicking a back leg.

Although my wife, Apple Gifford, is the bookkeeper, the rest of the farm is run by me. I’m always telling people that running a meat operation is much easier than a veggie farm, but the care and responsibility of animals is not for the faint of heart. Neither is sending them to be slaughtered.

We’ve had animals since Zinnia, now 9, could form memories; it’s just part of our girls’ lives. When our youngest, Lucy, now 7, turned to me while watching Babe for the first time and asked if we could keep just one of the pigs—if we could allow one to skip the slaughterhouse—I told her that I was sorry, but we couldn’t. We needed them for our customers. She sighed, then returned to the movie. The girls know that I don’t enjoy anything about the slaughtering process; both have piled in the truck and made the trip with me. However, like many people who like to carefully source their food, our girls will sit down to a meal, express their pleasure that our animals had good lives, thank them for their ultimate sacrifice, and then tuck into a tasty dinner.

I guess there’s always a chance that one or both of our girls will one day take real issue with raising animals for meat, but for now they are willing to let it happen because they, like many others, enjoy eating good food from animals raised with compassion. We especially like preparing pork shoulders because we tend to have a bunch of them in the freezer; the meat can easily be added to dishes over the following days, and the girls love it (Lucy calls it candy pork).

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