Porky research and the Red Wattle Hog

6 Jan

When I started growing vegetables I wanted things I couldn’t get easily at the store. I wanted weird stuff that no one had ever seen and to make dishes nobody else had ever tasted. I’ll admit it, I’m a food adventurer, a trait encouraged and nurtured while only a 10 year old child on sabbatical with my family as we traversed around the world. We lived in Japan and Sweden during that journey for six months each and it was immersion into these cultures, and others along the way that opened my eyes to so many wonderful choices in food.

Heirloom fruits and vegetables are therefore an obvious component in my garden. So too, are heritage farm animals, which brings us to the elusive and extraordinary Red Wattle Hog or Pig, depending. And really, just what is the difference between a hog and a pig? Just like heirloom plants, heritage animals must be consumed in order to continue on.

If there is no added benefit in the form of taste, better flavor, hardiness, regional adaptability, or an incredibly unique finished product, they will not survive our industrialized world. And if you have read this far, please check out this post a story regarding Adam and Eve, two 8 week old Red Wattles that traveled from Kansas to live in the Napa Valley. Especially thought provoking, are the comments in this link, there are excellent rhetorical questions posed and insights revealed.

Luckily, the Red Wattle population is increasing and most Red Wattle farmers are passionate about their cause. Although touted as a trendy foodie item for several years (yet again, another Adam and Eve reference), I hope that more people have the opportunity to taste heritage meat and learn about these animals with an eye towards preservation, animal welfare and excellent flavor. To know that meat raised the way it is supposed to be raised has better flavor and that more small farmers are supported in doing so, is a win, win situation for all local communities.

Raising Red Wattle Hogs is an honor. We have Yorkshire/Landrace/Hampshire cross gilts alongside the Red Wattles and the Red Wattles appear to be more primitive and old-fashioned. They are larger, grow faster, forage better, hold up to the weather and thrive in the woodlot and pasture. The Red Wattles have been referred to as dinosaurs and, I’ll admit, they do have a primordial look to them. When surprised or scared, they bark like a dog and hop around in circles, it’s a sound from the past, eerily prehistoric and oddly appropriate for their looks.

The white pig on the right is about 300 pounds - for perspective

Where did they come from? I wonder if they are a genetic remnant from our ancient past, a treasure that has been rediscovered and/or a delicious unsolvable mystery. Regardless, we are lucky to have them.

And by the way, what ever happened to the cute little piglets named Adam and Eve that got to go live in the Napa Valley?

So, with fingers crossed while knocking on wood (ow!), If all goes well, we should have our own farm raised Red Wattle piglets in about 4 months! If you are interested in a piglet of your own to raise, or a whole or half, please contact us at pjmatthews7750@gmail.com

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4 Responses to “Porky research and the Red Wattle Hog”

  1. Kristie Renee~ January 8, 2011 at 12:39 pm #

    Hey Pinkguitarfarm. Good luck with those pigs. I admire how you have mastered the eat what you have raised quandry. I struggle with it daily when I collect eggs and you have moved onto Pigs! Happy New Year and Cheers my friend~

    • pinkguitarfarm January 8, 2011 at 10:21 pm #

      It sure is a quandary. We struggle with it daily too. Happy New Year to you and your wonderful family, and hey, come visit us in 2011? We would love to have y’all. We miss you!

  2. Kathy January 8, 2011 at 9:19 pm #

    Chickens are the most direct link to dinosaurs! see this from Wikipedia:
    Feathers and the origin of birds

    Main article: Origin of birds
    The possibility that dinosaurs were the ancestors of birds was first suggested in 1868 by Thomas Henry Huxley.[98] After the work of Gerhard Heilmann in the early 20th century, the theory of birds as dinosaur descendants was abandoned in favor of the idea of their being descendants of generalized thecodonts, with the key piece of evidence being the supposed lack of clavicles in dinosaurs.[99] However, as later discoveries showed, clavicles (or a single fused wishbone, which derived from separate clavicles) were not actually absent;[14] they had been found as early as 1924 in Oviraptor, but misidentified as an interclavicle.[100] In the 1970s, John Ostrom revived the dinosaur–bird theory,[101] which gained momentum in the coming decades with the advent of cladistic analysis,[102] and a great increase in the discovery of small theropods and early birds.[21] Of particular note have been the fossils of the Yixian Formation, where a variety of theropods and early birds have been found, often with feathers of some type.[14] Birds share over a hundred distinct anatomical features with theropod dinosaurs, which are now generally accepted to have been their closest ancient relatives.[103] They are most closely allied with maniraptoran coelurosaurs.[14] A minority of scientists, most notably Alan Feduccia and Larry Martin, have proposed other evolutionary paths, including revised versions of Heilmann’s basal archosaur proposal,[104] or that maniraptoran theropods are the ancestors of birds but themselves are not dinosaurs, only convergent with dinosaurs.[105]

    • pinkguitarfarm January 8, 2011 at 10:07 pm #

      Hey Kathy! Maniraptoran theropods, oh, yeah – I can see it!

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