Is Hog Harvesting a definition of sustainability? Yes. Sustainability is a term that has been bandied about quite frequently lately, oftentimes with no clear definition or relation explained.
Try this one. You must feed your family. To do that, you have to kill an animal. Butchering and processing the resulting FOOD feeds your family. Knowing how to do it right, may save your life as well.
For some, the recent Hog Harvest workshop at Flattail Furs Farm with guest instructor, Mike Baker was an adventure into an experience they never had. For others, a lesson in preparing fresh meat for cooking or serving, making sausage, prosciutto and charcuterie.
For hog-raisers intending to harvest and butcher in the near future, either without a nearby processor or for their own expertise, the workshop was worth a trip from Tennessee and Wyoming. Find out why inside…(Photos by MayPole Studios, Bethany Fritz)
HOME HOG HARVEST
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They travelled from Tennessee, Wyoming State, Traverse City, Chicago and the other side of Beaver Island to attend a Home Hog Harvest workshop at Flattail Fur Farms.
Mike Baker, of Baker’s Green Acres in Marion, MI was the experienced instructor leading the class into the processing and curing of a farm-raised hog. Baker said people are interested in his classes for many reasons. Number one is learning how to be self-sufficient. Other reasons include doing it just for the adventure and experience of something new. Several of the workshop attendees went home to process their own animals, others will use the new knowledge to prepare meats for table after learning how to make prosciutto and charcuterie.
Laura Green Valente demonstrated how she had raised her own animals on a special diet of household food waste, and gathered nuts and fruits. The diet was meant to create meat specially designed to be turned into charcuterie cuts for the table.
Baker said a major reason for the insurgence of home processing classes is because most processing shops are closed, out of business, shutdown due to Covid or so fully booked they cannot take on any new clients. It’s difficult to get your animals processed these days.
Jill Baker brought along the rest of the Baker family to assist. Cookbooks and recipes to teach the class how to prepare the meat for stuffing or curing, or rendering. Whipped Leaf-lard was featured as a delicious addition to a cheese, prosciutto, cracker plate served for snacks. The fat, or lard on a hand-fed, homegrown animal is pure white and delicious, making for grand bacon and other cuts.
Students learned the process from skinning, scraping, cutting, chopping, preparing, cooking and curing to storage. While one student did take a ham hock home to salt and store, Laura said she will use the bulk of the hog harvest for her own table.
Laura said she plans on holding the class again next year to accommodate those who could not attend this year and perhaps some new fans. Here’s what she promises: “Ever wonder how people processed pigs on their homesteads back in the day? Curious about what cuts of meat come from what subprimals and what subprimals come from what primals? Want to learn how to make guanciale, soppresatta, and other charcuterie meats? Last fall I took a class @baker_green_acres_ that taught all of this, and much more, by Mark and Jill Baker. This will be a 3 day hands on intensive course teaching everything you would need to know on how to process a pig, with nothing going to waste.”
Contact Laura at www.flattailfurs.com for more information on upcoming classes and current products from Laura and Mark.Baker’s Green Acres offers classes on processing
rabbits, chickens and turkeys or learn other valuable farming techniques. Anyone Can Farm Homestead Guild provides the highest quality, most up to date continuing education courses on homesteading practices. Courses are available online and on the farm in Marion, Michigan. Bakersgreenacres.com
See More photos in the December print issue of the NorthernIslander, On the stands December 7, 2020.