What is Pastured Pork?
What is pastured pork? Well, first, as the term suggests, pastured pork is raised on pasture. However, because pigs are not ruminants, grass is only a part of their diet. The high quality forages that the pasture provides are usually supplemented with a grain ration of some sort. Pigs are characteristically determined to generally destroy anything they can get their snouts on, and so pasturing pigs takes some added management to ensure they don’t overturn every bit of grass in sight.
Pastured hogs have a very good impact on the environment. If managed well, pigs are a real asset to regenerative growth in soil structure. They increase soil nutrient levels substantially and, due to their tendency to root and dig, provide some aeration to the soil. The idea of letting pigs run free is not a new innovation. Historically, this was the way pigs were raised, exploring and digging to their heart’s content. In recent years though, with the massive expansion of agricultural operations, they have been confined to barns, as this is a more time effective production method.
Pastured pork is generally raised with humane methods, and pigs love the outdoor environment. They do need shade in some form, as they don’t sweat. This inability to sweat also prompts pigs to make wallows in which to cool off. However, these wallows tend fill with contaminated water, and should be avoided.
Because of the healthy outdoor lifestyle and diet, pastured pork tends to have an outstanding deep and complex flavour. This, along with the knowledge that it has been raised in a natural environment, has lead an increasing number of pork lovers to go this route.
Thanks for reading, and you just might want to give it a try yourself!