Paleo Lifestyle - Paleo Food

To Market, To Market… And Buying A Fat Hog From Eddy’s Farm

Earlier this summer after returning home from one to many trips I posted a line from the age old nursery rhyme, “to market, to market to buy a fat hog” and then made a comment that I hoped to be buying one sometime soon. We had purchased a cow share from Savage Hill Cattle company earlier in the spring and having good quality, grass fed, locally sourced meat in our freezer had spoiled me. It seemed after that the only time I ever stopped to see my friends at the meat counter was when I needed pork- this made them very, very sad, and me very, very happy.

Long story short, minutes after making the post I saw a comment from a gal who goes to our same crossfit box (thank you Ann) that I should check out Eddy Farm in Newington. Minutes after that (because we’re crazy) we had loaded the kids in the backseat of the minivan and were headed down to Newington. Really, a farm in Newington??? I was leery.

Upon arrival we discovered one of my favorite farm stands in the region. I say region because to say area isn’t quite right. I actually need to drive about 25 minutes to get to Eddy when I could easily drive 5 to get to any number of other farmsteads near my house, but…. after finding Andy and Haley, I usually don’t.

I hopped out of the car with my daughter M and we started looking at all the lovely produce. The small space is really a feast for the eyes. They have such a huge selection and it is displayed so beautifully I could look, and touch, and look, and touch, and look, and touch all day… But alas, my 5 year old was just touching and loading everything she saw in her little wicker basket so I had to stop savoring the experience.

I started talking to Andy to find out that:

  • They had relocated from Colorado (I loved them immediately, I felt  little less like a stranger in this strange land of CT)) to return to Haley’s family farm.
  • They had some experience in urban homesteading in Boulder (further intriguing).
  • Most importantly for the task at hand, they raised Duroc pigs on their pastures and sold shares for processing in November. No pork chops that night, but…. if I could put down a deposit and wait until November, I could own a half or whole share.

Our mouths watered as I wrote my deposit check and we went on our way.

We returned every few weeks for the remainder of the summer. M would stock up on whatever fruit was available and lots of corn (yep, that’s right, I let my kids eat corn- GASP!). I would stock up on everything, and I do mean practically everything else. Squash and peppers, flowers and pickles, tomatoes, greens, the list goes on and on. I even got a couple of boxes of San Marzano tomatoes from them to can when it came time for my first foray in to canning this fall.Eddy Farm is a gem in the midst of a heavily developed area, the last of their kind. If you are ever in the area, stop by, visit, and how them some support.

But back to the pig… We bought a full share late this summer. I got the call last week that the meat was ready for pick up. I drove down to pick it up and Haley and I loaded 180 pounds of top quality, locally sourced, pasture raised pork into the rear of my van. I got home and unloaded that same amount in to my basement freezer. OK, Maybe it was only 179 lbs, The mailman saw me lifting one of the 90 lb boxes out of the van and came over to help so I gave him a round of italian sausage. Even after that, man oh man, do we have a lot of pork.

This amount does not however concern me. I learned from the beef experience, we eat a lot of it. I get to experiment with cooking because I need to- when getting a share or a whole animal you get lots of parts you might not normally choose yourself. I tried giving away a few of the items to people but no one has been interested, so…. they sit in my freezer.

I started out cooking it slowly, conservatively, last night. I fried 8 pork chops in a skillet and served them with some brussel sprouts and sweet potatoes. I only salted the pork chops lightly so I could get the full experience of the flavor and it was delicious. Very mild, very lean. I even ate the fat and didn’t gag doing it.

It’s funny, somehow buying a whole animal for consumption changes things. One, likely the quality is far beyond what you might get at your local store. Two, you know the animal was just that, an animal. I can no longer throw away pieces or bits I would normally not be inclined to eat. And I have found that some of those pieces I am least attracted by, turn out to be quite tasty.

In respect to the Duroc they slaughtered for us I used the bones from the chops for bone broth last night. I cooked it in the crockpot all night and all day with a single onion. I strained it and degreased it and used it as well as some of the leftover pork from last night this evening to make egg drop soup. It was delicious. I ate it slowly, and with each bite I thought about the duroc and all the meat in our freezer for the coming year, and I sent out a silent thanks and promise to be brave and not waste a single piece.

So…. be on the look out for the expected bacon experiments, my attempts to cure my own ham, and what becomes of the head and feet currently cryovaced in by basement freezer….

 

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