Flying Pigs Farm prides itself on being a top quality purveyor of rare-breed heritage pork raised on pasture for over a decade. To be able to appreciate how the tenets of our business translate to a more enjoyable meal, a quick lesson in the virtues of our pork is in order.
The emergence of large-scale animal farming took place in the 1970s. With the shift from small, family owned farms to these factory-style farming practices, owners began to raise animals with an ever-increasing eye on their profits. In an effort to see a greater return on their investments, many concessions have been made: from overcrowding and egregiously unhygienic pens to overuse of antibiotics, and toxic concentrations of effluent. In addition to the extreme loss of diversity, and as a result biosecurity, on the farmyard.
Prior to the early 1900s pig breeds were numerous, and varied depending on their geographic locations; each suited to the environments in which they lived. As grain production increased in the Midwest, pork production began to centralize and regional breeds began to become extinct. After the end of WWII, and with the onset of hydrogenated cooking fats, the demand for lard fell dramatically. Consequently, pig producers made a shift from lard production to a meat production, selecting breeds for muscling when fed corn. This change is still felt today, with the pork industry resting on three highly selected strains of Duroc, Hampshire and Yorkshire; three breeds chosen for their performance under highly intensive husbandry. As a result, many of the less popular breeds traditionally chosen for lard production or that did not grow well in confinement have become extinct, and only a handful of critically rare breeds cling to survival.
These rare breeds will not be conserved by the commercial pork industry, as they do not possess the traits required for such intensive commodity production of pork. It is the mission of small, sustainable farms like Flying Pigs Farm to help preserve these rare and endangered breeds. We are proud to have fields full of Tamworth, Old Spot, Large Black and Ossabaw, and the results aren't simply the preservation of these beautiful breeds. The majority of flavor in animals is stored in the fat, ergo pork with more marbling and intramuscular fat, bred for flavor and not for leanness, results in a far more flavorful meals. Moreover, the days of the myth of dangerous lard are over: lard is composed of over 50% heart-healthy mono-saturated fat, oleic acid (second to olive oil) and in its natural form contains zero trans-fats. Unlike vegetable fats, lard does not go rancid as quickly nor breaks down as quickly with repeated cooking, which release free radicals.
Flying Pigs Farm is dedicated to preserving these breeds that have been passed over in the race for leaner pigs designed to grow quickly on grains in a commercial setting. The advantage for you, the consumer, is a product that is not only more delicious, but also one that contributes to the sustainability of our region as well as our planet. With 160 acres of rolling hills, forests and streams, our pigs have the opportunity for a varied foraged diet that translates to a Premium Pork Product.