We bought our first Tamworth pigs to raise at Willow Haven Farm in 2012. By 2013 we were ready to breed our own and we had our first litter soon after. Old Spot BoarEach year we have bred one to two sows with heritage boars such as Tamworth, Large Black and Old Spot.
This year our sows farrowed (gave birth) in April and are successfully raising seven and nine piglets in our fenced in pasture.
Raising Our Pigs
We have 20 acres of fenced in pasture through which we rotate our pigs each season. They have various types of shelters to retreat to when the weather is hot, wet or cold. Piglets stay with their mothers for the first 2 – 3 months of life and then are separated. Sibling groups stay together and are moved to fresh pasture. The sows rest for a season and then selectively bred for the next. Our pigs have never received any hormones, antibiotics or vaccinations.
Feeding Our Pigs
Our pigs enjoy quite a varied and nutritious diet. They love eating forage grasses and alfalfa in our pasture and rooting in the soil. Because we organically raise vegetables, there are vegetable scraps available for the pigs throughout the growing season. While “grass-fed” is a frequently used term for high quality meat, pigs cannot eat only grass and forage. A certain amount of grain is necessary for their energy, proper digestion, development of body structure, muscle and fat.We buy organic grain from a Mennonite farmer in Oley, PA who grows and mixes all his own feed. We choose SOY FREE because of the research showing the soy has high levels of phytic acid and phytoestrogens which are issues having negative health consequences for humans. Our family avoids soy as much as possible so we do not include it in the feed of ANY of the animals we raise for food. We also recognize that many people are developing soy allergies and because soy is ubiquitous in our food system it is difficult to find meat raised without it. You can learn more about the dangers of soy here.
The End Game
While big pigs are impressive and little piglets are funny and adorable, the purpose of raising animals humanely, outdoors, with room to roam and root and eat a rich, nutritious and varied diet is always to provide the best quality pork that we can for our family and our customers. Pigs are amazing animals in that they can turn almost any kind of feed into delicious meat than can be prepared in an incredible number of ways. From smoked ham and bacon, to fresh pork chop and roasts, to the finer charcuterie of cured sausages, prosciotto and pancetta, traditional ways of storing and eating pork are a culinary adventure for the simple eater and the experienced foodie.
The Finishing Touches
Since 2015, Willow Haven Farm has had a selection of it’s own farm raised, pastured pork year round. We sell individually packaged cuts of pork chops, sliced hams, ham ends, ribs, bacon, sausage, and roasts during our Saturday On Farm Market. Availability various for the more popular cuts and we rotate our selection of sausages: chorizo, andouille, maple breakfast, italian kielbasa and country flavors are our favorites.
Save in Bulk Pork
When we butcher several animals at a time we offer whole and half hogs for those who want large quantities at a savings. Throughout the year we offer smaller bulk packs. One of our most popular is the $100 Pork Sampler which includes 12 lbs of a variety of cuts.
Request and Reserve
Please join our e-newsletter list and select the option for Bulk Pork and Beef to get first notice of when we are offering whole and half hogs. Our Pork Sampler is available to purchase through our Online Farm Store at any time or any Saturday during our On Farm Market.
If you would like to special order or request more information, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org