Heritage Hogs and Ranfurly Farm

skinning-pig

Joel Salatin would be happy to know we had ourselves a hog kill. This was a traditional practice just a few generations ago. Now people are reclaiming the skills of slaughtering and butchering. Here is Chris Harder giving Sonja a quick explanation of skinning a hog.

Near the beginning of August we picked up two, eight week old English Big Black Hogs from Ranfurly Farm. Ranfurly Farm is located near Chase, BC in Turtle Valley. Mike and Margaret Fryatt moved onto the farm just over a year ago, but they have done a lot in a very short time. They are breeders of heritage livestock. They are specializing in pasturing animals and growing part of their animal feed as green crops. Using electric fencing to control access, they let the animals into the green crops for a self-service buffet. Their daughter Jennifer Fryatt and her partner Adam Cooke, moved onto the property and are running the only Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program in the area that I know about. This makes them a multi-generational farm, which is a very good thing.

hog-parts

This was the first time we cut up an animal bigger than a turkey. Ranfurly Farm doesn't require you to butcher your own animals; they can send the hogs to a butcher for you. Our group just has an insatiable appetite for learning new skills.

At Ranfurly Farm they use electric fences for their pasture management so the hogs were trained to electric fences. We have been using a paddock and a small electric fenced pasture area for the hogs. We feed the hogs organic mixed whole grains from Fieldstone Granary. We soak the grains overnight and feed the mash directly to the hogs and chickens. This soaking improves digestibility and if the hogs do not eat everything the whole grains will sprout producing greens for the animals. We also feed the pigs kitchen and garden waste and the occasional feast of chicken offal. Hogs, like chickens, are omnivores and need animal products to be healthy. Traditionally, hogs would also be fed the waste products from cheese and butter making.

We have never handled hogs before and we have come to love these sweet animals. I can’t understand why someone would dislike hogs. Hogs are very clean animals and, if given the option, they will go to the bathroom in only one area of their living quarters. I don’t know how the two hogs come to a consensus about where to go to the bathroom, but they do.

The hogs were very wary of us at first. They have these big floppy ears that hang over their eyes. I don’t know how they manage to see where they are going. But now when we come, they jump around and bounce their ears so they can see us better. After their fill of soaked grain mash, the hogs will stand still for a back scratching. The hogs will grunt with delight and wiggle their back ends with pleasure, not unlike a dog.

I must admit I am getting attached to Bacon and Sausage. These are the only names I allow the girls to use for the hogs. (We have a policy of never naming livestock destined for our table. At the same time, names such as Bacon and Sausage, helps the children understand where their food comes from.) I don’t know which will win out, growing the sows into breeding stock, or my hunger for homemade smoked bacon.

If you are looking for heritage livestock or pastured beef, pork or lamb, here is their contact information. If you are interested in CSA please contact Jennifer Fryatt and Adam Cooke directly:

Ranfurly Farm
Mike and Margaret Fryatt
797 Bailey Rd, Chase, BC, V0E 1M0
T: 250.679.2735
E: mfryatt(a)hotmail.com
E: marg.fryatt(a)hotmail.com
60km
pastured beef from Galloway cows, pastured pork from English Big Black and Berkshire pigs, fibre from Blueface Leceister sheep and meat from North Country Cheviots Cross sheep, free range eggs from Black Australorps and Silver Laced Wyandottes chickens, breeders for English Big Black, Berkshire pigs and Blueface Leceister sheep; soon to be breeders of Bourbon Reds, Ridley Bronze, and Blue Slate turkeys; soon to be breeders of heritage Sussex and Wyandotte chickens
Jennifer Fryatt and Adam Cooke
E: ranfurlycsa(a)gmail.com
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) weekly box program for vegetables and pastured poultry

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