pastured pork

Why Are You Always Out of Bacon?!

If you’ve been shopping with us for very long, you have probably seen the dreaded line through the BACON category on our farmers market signage.

Breakfast is ruined, emotions run high, panic ensues, it’s never fun… and I can assure you we hate it as much as you do!

Our bacon is pretty much amazing. It’s sweet, it’s salty, it’s crunchy, it’s good for breakfast, in a BLT, on a salad, as a midnight snack, the list could go on. It’s basically what dreams are made of, I completely get it.

In a perfect world, we would never run out of any cut, but it’s just not realistic for small farms operating at our scale. Each pig, steer and chicken only has so many body parts!

Part of the bacon challenge is that on a 200+ pound hog, we only get somewhere around 16 packages of bacon. The belly and a little bit of meat from the jaw is the only meat from a hog that can be made into bacon. The majority of a pig is chops, hams, shoulders, ribs and sausage.

As consumers, we are used to shopping the grocery store where every cut is stocked, at all times. We can shop any time of day or night and there will be bacon and pretty much anything else we could imagine, at any given moment, waiting for us to toss it into the cart.

It’s different for small farms. We use and need to sell the entire animal so nothing goes to waste and so we can afford to raise the next batch of animals.

The same concept of cut scarcity is true for beef and chickens too. We tend to run out of cuts like filet, ribeyes and rump roasts very quickly since each animal only has a small amount, but we can’t beef up (ha, get it!) beef production so we always have filet without balancing the demand for the other cuts.

Sometimes we also run out of cuts simply because all of you are amazing and we sell out faster than expected!

It takes 6-8 weeks to raise a batch of meat chickens, 5-6 months before a laying hen starts producing eggs consistently, 6+ months to raise a finished hog, and 2-2.5 years to raise a finished beef steer. When we run out of things, it takes time for us to stock the freezers again.

2019 will be our 4th year farming, and we are continuing to fine tune when we need to have animals processed, how many to raise, and what your favorite cuts are, but we always appreciate feedback about what you like or would like us to offer!

So, my challenge to you is to try incorporating a wide variety of cuts into your meals. Branch out, try something new! And if you need ideas on how to cook it, send me an email and I would love to help. The end result will be more bacon for everyone! :)

~Dana

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Grilled Pastured Pork Chops with Potatoes & Veggies

Every once in awhile I knock dinner out of the park - this meal was one of those times!

I happened to be hanging out on Pinterest one day last week while waiting in line at the BMV and thought this recipe looked worth trying. Plus, I had all the ingredients on hand and if I do the prep work I can usually get Jesse to be the grill master - another win! He really is better at the grilling - it truly is a win for us all when I don't burn everything to a crisp. 

Heritage Breed hogs like the ones we raise are known to have super flavorful juicy chops compared to bland conventionally raised grocery store varieties, so they are tasty on their own with some just some salt and pepper added. Using this marinade made them even more amazing though. 

I may or not have been gnawing the leftover bits of meat off the bone so not a morsel was wasted - they were that good!

Marinated Pastured Pork Chops

Ingredients

  • 2-4 thick cut Pastured Pork Chops

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce

  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

  • 2 tablespoons olive or coconut oil

  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon mustard - can be regular, dijon, any kind works!

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

  • 1 clove garlic or 1 tsp garlic powder

  • salt and pepper

Instructions

1. Combine marinade ingredients in a large shallow pan or food storage bag. 

2. Add chops and marinate at least an hour or up to 6 hours. If using a shallow pan, be sure to flip the chops partway through to coat all sides. If using a bag, squish everything around to get all sides of the chops coated. 

3. Grill chops over medium high heat for approximately 5 to 7 minutes per side until internal temp reaches 145 degrees. Don't overcook or chops could dry out! 

Grill Potatoes & Veggies

The perfect side dish to go with your marinated pork chops! 

Ingredients

  • About 6 medium potatoes cut into 1 inch chunks

  • 1 onion sliced thin

  • 1 pound (about 2 cups) fresh or frozen green beans

  • 2 cloves garlic (can use powdered garlic or garlic salt instead)

  • 4+ tablespoons butter

  • Few dashes of Worchestershire Sauce

  • Salt/Pepper

If you want to switch it up a bit, you can also add any combination of sliced zucchini or yellow squash, sweet potatoes, sliced peppers - we have even used cabbage and it's always delicious! 

Instructions

1. Lay out a big piece of aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray or coat with butter/coconut oil

2. Spread potatoes, onions and green beans on the foil. Add salt, pepper, garlic then mix together and gather into the middle of the foil, somewhat in a line long ways across the foil. Leave a few inches on each end - you'll need enough room around the outside to seal up the foil into a packet. 

3. Add a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce then place pats of butter across the top. Don't be shy about adding butter, 4 tablespoons is a minimum here! 

4. Seal up the foil packet and carefully transfer to the grill. Place on a side with low heat. Direct heat will burn the bottom layer. 

5. Allow to cook for approximately 45 minutes or until potatoes are soft. Try not to pierce the foil bag and limit opening the bag to check if potatoes are done - keeping the hot steam in keeps them cooking faster! 

My method to pull this meal together was to start marinating the pork chops while completing the prep work and starting to cook the grill potatoes. The last 20 minutes or so of cooking the potatoes we added the chops to the grill so both were ready to eat around the same time. 

Hope you enjoy this meal as much as we do! 

~ Dana

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