This picture is of my great-grandmother Poole. There is a video of my great grandfather Lane near the bottom of the page. Their times were harder in many ways, but I believe their pork was better. In their time, most country folks kept a few pigs on their homesteads. Granddaddy Lane was a “hog man” and kept quite a few all his life. Granny Poole was known for handraising runts.
These “Homestead Hogs” grazed pastures, rooted in forests and in the south were turned on to the corn and peanut fields of the farm. These hogs never saw concrete like modern pigs which are crowded and caged in concrete and metal slat floored barns for their entire lives. Because of the crowded conditions, modern hog farms often provide sub-therapeutic levels of antibiotics to prevent illness and aid in growth. The homestead hogs of the past weren't bred to be “the other white meat” but had a marbled red meat and produced lard for healthful cooking fat and soap making. Their diets of green and natural forage gave their meat healthier Omega 3 Fatty Acids. Feed cropsback then weren't genetically modified to resist herbicides, which are now sprayed directly on the crops for weed control, the carcinogenic chemicals from which are found in the fats of the livestock that feed on them and even in human breast milk.
I had decided to stop eating pork unless I could raise my own. Though not quite as intelligent as the movies make them out to be, pigs are special animals and deserve better lives than the industrial farm model provides them. I also wanted to eat better myself and feed my young family the best. We started out raising two pigs for our own family. We were “wowed!” by the sweet flavor of the pork and it was a great comfort eating sausage and not wondering what weird stuff went in it. Our friends wanted to share in this pork for their families also and I set out to provide “Hog Shares” and raised 12 homestead hogs for my friends. Demand has increased and we now have our own breeding herd, so that the pigs are born right on our homestead and we can have more control over the great tasting stock we raise. But, rather than continue to expand our own herd past the capabilities of our land, we have partnered with other small homestead farms, our friends, who share our values of humanely raised, great tasting heritage breed pigs, raised on natural forage instead of concrete or dirt lots and feeding feeds free from genetic modification, antibiotics and toxins from agricultural chemicals. This has been a success and when you buy a “Hog Share” from Regional Seasonal, your hog will be coming from our homestead or one of our friends that is partnered with Regional Seasonal that shares our same farm mission.