The Berkshire pigs of Leafhopper Farm were slaughtered on October 22, 2016. It was a month after the original planned date of processing, but the pork will taste just as good. Rooter and Till were dispatched and hung for scalding starting very early in the morning to make sure the water was hot. The week before, a proper hanging system was set up, including a metal hanging bar suspended 16 feet above the 55 gallon drum that would be heated up by a double jet boiler.
We started with Rooter, as she was the less dominate of the two pigs and smaller. After a difficult initial put down, things went incredibly smoothly, and a great showing of help arrived on the scene to participate and learn. At one point 10 people were present, asking great questions, offering moral support, and some going all out, right into scraping, cutting, and carrying.
I was particularly impressed by an enthusiastic five year old who witnessed the event, adding laughter and creative endeavor to the day. By noon the first gilt was hanging in the cooler, and we took a break to enjoy some venison pasta sauce. Then it was on to pig two, and Till dropped in a textbook slaughter. I will use my high powered rifle when killing larger meat animals from now on.
There’s nothing like working together on a daunting project to bring people together. The mood stayed light through the entire day and both pigs offered great teaching in the way of home processing pork. Throughout the scrapping, scalding, and cleaving, everyone got a turn to put hands on each step. I was so glad to see the enthusiasm and support between people who were just getting to know one another. This is the village model Leafhopper Farm wishes to cultivate.
A child’s artistic images in pig blood boot prints records the events of the day. Some of the adults added their mark to the impromptu canvas. The event was definitely performance art.
It’s been a great experience to raise pigs at the farm, knowing they would be fully cared fro from start to finish in a humane way. Now we can enjoy the meat knowing these animals had a great life. This healthy organic meat will feed many others and offer good food from the land for months to come. I am grateful for this opportunity, and so thankful for all the support offered in turning hogs into good pork.