When I went on the #FarmtoPork tour, I saw pork from, well, the beginning to the end. I saw the insemination process, the nursery, the finishing farms, the kill floor, and the processing plant. I learned a lot. I mean, a lot, and I came home more committed and interested in learning all about the process. It was deep and it was visceral and I've heard some negativity about it, but I thought the tour was really well executed.
Between that time and now, I found a local butcher shop, one dedicated to sourcing ethically raised meats and helping local farmers find consumers who want well-raised healthy products. I've started to buy meat there - in a limited amount, but I would like to eventually be able to balance the wants and needs of a larger than typical family size and amounts with the meat that has a bit higher than standard price point.
And, hey, I'm not begruding anyone anything. I walk a fine line between wanting to balance a budget and getting everyone fed and making sure I don't feed my family shady food.
I made a cassoulet with meats from the local butcher shop - Norfolk Pendulum - and it was divine. I've bought sausages (multiple, for my hubby loves some Italian sausage) and pork chops and all of it was top notch. So when I saw an offer on their Facebook page to attend a Hog Butchery class, well, I was all about that pork.
The class was amazing and so, so interesting. I learned how that great slab above is cut, pulling out the tenderloin, learning where the Boston Butt is (Hint: it's not the butt area, but it's in the top half of the pig and contains the shoulder blade), and learned more about the structure of a pig than I ever thought existed.
Did you know that the back end of the pig is the sirloin? ME EITHER.
I mean, I didn't even realize - and I don't know why it was a stunner, because, if you think about it, it makes sense - that a pig has ball and socket joints just like people.
I learned more about how bacon is made - it comes from the pork belly - and brought home my own pork belly and instructions to make my own bacon. I am probably unreasonably excited about this opportunity.
It takes skill and muscle to carve a pig into recognizable parts. And a big saw.
And it takes dedication to precision knife movements. I think I need to buy new knives.
I left with a goodie bag containing a boneless and a bone in pork chop, ground pork, a mini ham, a piece of pork belly and sirloin cutlets.
As well as a desire to learn even more about meat - the preparation of it, the production and presentation, and of course - how to cook it.
Next up? I want to attend the Sausage making class.
I think it's absolutely key for everyone to know where their food comes from, be they carnivores, vegans, whatever. This entire process has been really very illuminating.