People commonly associate pastured animals with chickens and their eggs but pastured pork has gained recently gained attention among consumers mainly because of its positive environmental impacts. People condemn animal cruelty in pig farms where sows were abused while being pregnant with piglets. Unethical practices such as the clipping of pigtails and teeth among piglets have raised moral concerns over the years.
Consumers have been shifting to greener lifestyles and eating meat raised with sustainable practices is becoming a top choice. The appeal of pastured pork comes from the healthy and happy lifestyles that pigs are being accustomed to, roaming grassy fields, breathing fresh air, and drinking flowing water to nourish and fatten themselves. Pastured pork fed with organically farmed corn and naturally fertilized grass gives the meat a richer and more natural flavor. Some people prefer this meatier flavor compared to the almost tasteless and sometimes tough texture of traditionally and commercially farmed pork.
Pastured Pork Trivia
- When uncontrolled and abused, pig farming can have one of the greatest environmental impacts in natural environments. Toxic feces and other natural waste impact air and water pollution in the surrounding areas.
- Agricultural scientists have been exploring how to convert pig manure into renewable natural gas as a power source.
- The “Perfect Pig Company” is located in France. The farm breeds both common and rare pig breeds such as Berkshires, Mangalitsa, Tamworth, Gloucester, Old Spots, Middlewhites, and Oxford Sandy and Blacks.
Pastured Pork Buying Guide
Specialized pig farms breed both common and rare species in Texas.
Idaho Pasture Pigs (IPP) – Idaho Pasture Pigs are gentle pig breeds and can solely live on grass alone. They are naturally bred and selected to ensure healthy genetic dispersal. It is one of the most nutritious pork products as it contains more concentrated amounts of Selenium, Vitamin E, and Vitamin D.
Red Wattle Hogs – Red Wattle Hogs are a domestic pig breed that is genetically unique to North America. They are one of the specialized foraging breeds characterized by their speedy growth and endurance. As foragers, they greatly adapt to any climate and are one of the most profitable breeds for pastured pig production.
Berkshire Pigs – Berkshire pigs are one of the oldest pig breeds. It was first bred by the American Berkshire Association. Berkshire Pigs are either bred for bacon or lard because of their high concentration of fat, thick muscles, and short bodies. Berkshires were said to produce delicious pork meat but they grow slowly and have less lean meat compared to other breeds such as Hampshire, Duroc, and Yorkshire.
Pastured Pork Production & Farming in Texas
Raising pastured pork is a serious business for farmers. It currently has a high demand but there are a limited number of producers raising pastured pigs as it requires vast, open, grassy spaces, some nut trees for foraging, and a river for the pig’s naturally flowing water source.
Pastured pigs must enjoy their natural animal behavior such as walking in fields and eating fresh grass like cows. They should also have the freedom to find their mate, build nests, and give birth in the wild. Moreover, finding their food must be natural so they should roam freely or graze under the sun and the air. Enjoying natural lives allow them to develop their animal instincts by fattening on their own, and this self-sufficient lifestyle has less carbon footprint compared to regulated or commercial farming.
Raising pastured pigs is a more environmentally friendly alternative than commercial farming because it has deeper connections to nature. The pigs’ manure is disposed of naturally and lessens water contamination and soil pollution unlike the waste management of commercial pig farms. Pastured pigs live more respected lives where they co-exist with plants and other natural life forms to nourish themselves. This sustainable and natural routine is better than the highly controlled and isolated lives of commercially farmed pigs.
Pastured swine production is the oldest and most traditional method for swine production in many parts of the world. It is common in vast agricultural lands but considerations must be made towards the cost of land maintenance and controlling crop production and feeding. Seasonal limitations must also be considered especially in breeding pigs with less-resistant immune systems.
Pastured swine production is a rewarding process but it’s high maintenance and breeders need to constantly lookout for predators and immediately control the spread of diseases. Thus, it is essential to have a constant supply of clean water and an area where there is a more than adequate food supply for the drifts and the litters.
Enjoying Pastured Pork
Pork can be enjoyed in a variety of ways and it’s always delicious no matter how you cook it. It’s best to eat pastured pork that’s minimally processed and still retains all the natural vitamins, minerals, and other nourishment from the animal.
Eating whole, roasted pork is a common way of marking special celebrations such as birthdays and Christmas dinners, especially in Asian households.
Like any other meat, pastured pork should be moderately consumed to avoid health complications.
Store-bought pork must be refrigerated for 2-4 days. Ground pork must be frozen for 1-2 days and must be immediately consumed to maximize its natural flavors and nutrients. Pork that is stored longer should be cooked and frozen to avoid any bacterial breeding.
Whole and sliced ham can be stored for 3-4 days while sausages, bacon, hotdogs, and luncheon meat can be stored for up to a week.
No matter how you cook it, pastured pork is always tasty and will always please crowds unless someone has religious or health restrictions.
It is ideal to brine and/or marinate the pork to tenderize and flavor the meat. Submerge the meat for 24-48 hours before cooking to maximize the desired effects.
Pork barbecue is indeed one of life’s greatest treasures and it starts with a classic dry rub consisting of salt, peppers, herbs, spices, and other dried flavorings that you can suit your taste. Perfectly barbecued pork must have an internal temperature of 160°F since most bacteria and parasites perish at 137°F.
Searing pastured pork is a great way to retain its moisture, keeping the meat soft and giving it a tender mouthfeel. Flipping the pork evenly can also help it develop a crust.
Cooking breaded pork chops for a casual lunch or light dinner is a fast and easy way of pleasing your family.
Vitamin B3: This helps in producing energy by converting food into glucose. It is essential in reducing stress and fatigue. Deficiency in Niacin would lead to stomach disorders and may prolong cancer treatments for some patients.
Vitamin B6: Pyridoxine is significant to the formation of red blood cells by encouraging metabolism among the body’s carbohydrates, fats, and protein.
Vitamin B12: This is essential in the formation of DNA and all the body’s genetic components. Vitamin B12 increases endurance and energy. Thus, it is an important vitamin for athletes and people with active lifestyles.
Vitamin D: Vitamin D is best known to help the body’s formation and absorption of calcium. Low levels can lead to low bone density and a weak bone structure.
Selenium: Selenium acts as a powerful antioxidant. It protects cell damage and could fight against prostate cancer.