Finally, Pancetta gets her own post. Thanks to Amborosia and Nectar for reminding me and bringing me back on track!
It all started with mortadella strangely enough. Last Fall friends of ours in Leelanau were too busy to hang out over Thanksgiving when we were in town. Their excuse? They were busy making mortadella for Christmas presents. Yes, this sounded strange to me too and I wondered where did they get all the pork to do that? Then, in January, I was at a wine tasting and ran into my friends again and began to ask questions. These friends live about 4 miles from our family farm and had just purchased an old farm house in the region. One of their close neighbors happens to be a friend of our family and he just happens to have a pork thing going on.
Ten families are in on the deal. Our neighbor buys 12 pigs and everyone chips in and pays for his pig and for the pig of the farmer who does the butchering. He raises a large garden every year and then when the garden is going full tilt, he moves the pigs into the garden and they eat it all up. The next year, the garden will be where the pigs were raised until the garden was ready. Rotational pig grazing and rotational gardening. Good for the pigs, good for the garden.
This sounded too good to be true. So, I called him up and said, “do you think you could do one more pig?”. He thought about it and said, I guess I could do one more. He then said, well, the deal is, that we buy the pig and the beginning food until the garden is ready, but we expect everyone to bring over garden scraps, farm leftovers, whatever you have to help feed the pigs. At that point, since I live 3.5 hours from our potential Pancetta, I knew I needed help. Plus, a pig is a lot of food for 2 people, even if we do love our pork. So, I called my bro to see if he was interested. He doesn’t even like pork that much, but his wife does, so he said yes. I told him to take whatever leftovers he could over to Pancetta whenever he could, things like cherries, apples leftover from last fall in the walk in cooler, leftover seed potatoes. So we sent him a check that covers the price of the baby pig and the initial food ($150). We will probably have to send another $50 in the fall to cover some additional food and then it will be butchering time. All hands on deck day. This will be towards the end of October. The butcher is another local farmer who raises cherries, a few cattle and bees. His honey is tasty stuff. But what honey isn’t? They have a smokehouse in the area that gives them a good deal and has great smoke, so we will be sending what we can to be smoked and that might be $120 or so. So, for under $350 we (BF, bro and sis in law and I) will have an entire butchered and smoked pig. Pretty good deal.
Such a good deal that in fact I think that others should do this. It doesn’t take a lot of space, or money. But you do have to put a fence and shelter up, have running water, manage the manure (grow a garden there next year) and know a little bit about raising pigs. I figure if 4-H kids can do it for the fairs, so can I. Eventually. We have to move out of the city first and are working on that. I will post about the farm house and 7 acres we made an offer on next week. I may be a future goat cheese maker and farm market farmer.
So, we don’t have a share in our Pig Pancetta (if it was a boy he was going to be named Prosciutto – and actually we don’t know which pig is ours specifically and it doesn’t really matter), we have the whole pig and are sharing it.
We visited Pancetta over Memorial Weekend and sadly, have not yet been back and these are some of the nicest months for NW Michigan. That is until tonight. We are finally heading up there tonight. Tomorrow we will visit Pancetta and I have a lovely bag full of giant, overgrown zucchinis, cucumbers that I can’t keep up with, some peaches that will not ripen and a couple of apples. I might throw some herbs in for good seasoning as well. I think the sage needs trimming and sage and pork go so well together. This is another reason for today’s post – soon I will have new photos and therefore had to show the old ones first!
After visiting our pig, we will be spending the entire afternoon on a pontoon boat on Lake Leelanau. There is a grill on board and we have the coolers and sunscreen packed. Then we are hanging at the farm and grilling ribs and celebrating my dad’s birthday. I will get to visit the pheasants, chickens and turkeys, as well as my niece and nephew. I can’t wait.
I guess I have forgiven my computer now.i’m out