Our farm needs something…something more.
A baby, yes. And that will come. But another something – more primitive. More…edible.
We’re thinking about getting pigs.
Through my readings, I have grown interested in rare heritage breeds of animals (and heirloom varieties of fruits and vegetables). With this interest came a spirit of discovery – and so it is that we have discovered the breed of pig that will grace The Ozark House with oinky sounds, piggy odors, and tasty bacon and pork chops!
Meet the American Mulefoot Hog.
The Mulefoot is a special breed. It was developed in America over the past couple of centuries as a naturally hardy, disease-resistant hog, great at foraging, with a friendly disposition. It is notable for its incredibly flavorful meat (putting grocery-store pork to shame) that is increasingly coveted by gourmet chefs, and that is rosy-pink in color (pork hasn’t always been a white meat, by the way – it’s just something the industry created). They are especially unique in their foot structure: all other breeds of pig have cloven hooves, but the American Mulefoot has one solid hoof – like a horse (or mule)!
The obvious first question is: can the Mulefoot Pig provide the Jewish world with kosher pork? Well, once we get some, I plan to ask the local rabbi (thought “local” might be the wrong word there) – what a market opportunity! Kosher Bacon!
The Mulefoot breed has a great story, too. With the advent of industrialized agriculture in the ’50s and ’60s, and its use (abuse) of antibiotics, any pigs who weren’t super-producers were generally disregarded. By 1985, only one herd of Mulefoot Hogs remained in the world – and they were owned by one R.M. Holliday from the town of Louisiana, Missouri. Mr. Holliday raised his herd at one time on the islands of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, letting them forage in the summer, then picking them up in the fall for slaughter. He kept raising Mulefoots because he thought the breed was special. Now, as industrialized agriculture fails, antibiotic-resistant strains of diseases arise, and Americans tire of uninteresting, bland, factory-processed foods, the Mulefoot breed is finding new (uncloven) footing in the world of pig-raising. There are now over 300 certified Mulefoot hogs in existence, and the population is growing.
That’s where we come in.
We found some farmers in the Springfield area who have a small herd of this rare breed, and are willing to sell us Mulefoot piglets for $35 each!
We’re all over that.
So, needless to say, The Ozark House would benefit greatly from the experience of raising such a breed, and of tasting such great pork! We’ll definitely have to butcher/smoke/cure it ourselves.
Photos and further updates soon.