Table Mountain Ranch pork is my personal project on the ranch. I really wanted to go back to work on my family ranch, but I knew I would need my own venture to keep me engaged and supplement my income. After begging my Parents to let me raise hogs for years, I finally got the green light, that is after a couple of margaritas at our favorite Mexican restaurant.
I ran with it. I was told I could get 2 pigs. I ended up with 5 pigs and added a couple of girlfriends. We called it “adult 4-H” and it was a success. It also gave me a year to make sure I was entering a viable and fun enterprise and my girlfriends got to experience what raising their own meat was like. Armed with the knowledge that pigs are awesome to raise and delicious to eat, I quit my job and bought more hogs.
However, I wanted a different type of hogs. Special hogs. I wanted to go back to the old style of hogs, the “lard type” or heritage hogs. These hogs are known for having more fat than commercial hogs. I think they taste different. Many people who used to raise hogs back in the 1950’s and 60’s say these hogs taste like “pork” – that is before pork became “the other white meat”. I fell in love with the red wattle and old spot breeds.
The second reason having piglets is exciting is because it is enabling me to do something cool. Something that will benefit the next generation. I’m a huge believer in paying it forward, in leaving things better than when I found them, and the greater good.
When I was a child, my Grandfather bought my first 4-H pig. That money went into a savings account and from there I was able to buy another hog and continue my 4-H experience. Ultimately, I was able to use my savings account to pay for my college education.
I want to do the same thing for my friend’s kids. I also want to up the ante – I want to give kids an early experience on a ranch. You see, I want to corrupt them at an early age, corrupt them into having an interest in agriculture!
My plan is once a year, give a piglet to one of my friend’s kids. I’ll raise that piglet here on the ranch. All they have to pay for the pig’s food and come out a few times a month to help. When the pig is ready, the Parents have to buy the pig from their child, with the understanding that money will go into a savings account for college or trade school. Everyone wins, I get to expose kids to production agriculture, kids get some seed money for school and the family gets some amazing, local pork.
I am proud to finally offer this pork for sale to the public. My piglets are a cross between red wattles and old spot. However, my litter in the Fall will have some Berkshire genetics. My hogs are pastured, but they have access to a hog chow that I have made at our local feed mill. They also get day old pastry and cookies as treats! Depending on the time of year they also get pumpkins, fruit and acorns, whatever is in season.
These pigs live a very low stress life. They get lots of interaction with people, which means lots of forking and ear scratches. They get to frolic in the water and mud, root and lay in a pig pile. Happy, calm pigs make better meat. I’ll warn you one more time, once you go heritage, it’s hard to go back.
I have whole, half and roaster pigs available. I recommend letting me know quickly if you want a hog, as my list fills up very quickly. Right now I am taking names for winter and spring hogs.