First off, I should say – we have pork available again! We’re selling halves and wholes that will be butchered March 20. We know some of you have freezers nearing empty, so please email or call if you’re interested.
But it’s not just any pork – after two years of trying to make the logistics work out, this will be our first batch of pigs that we’ve been able to finish on whey rather than on more conventional feed with their pasture. Whey is a traditionally prized pig food which together with pasture and hay for roughage can form a complete ration.
This is satisfying for a few reasons – first, the whey is a byproduct of cheese production, and would otherwise be discarded. So even though we like the non-GMO corn-based pigfeed we’ve been using, this is an ecofriendlier solution. Not to mention, whey makes the best tasting pork available. Real Prosciutto di Parma is some of the most expensive and tastiest pork in the world and whey and pasture is a standard feed for those pigs. Another benefit is that depending on how many pigs we’re feeding at a time, it can be less expensive than other options. We’re getting the whey from Swissland Dairy in Berne, IN., so since we pay them (mostly for the trucking) your pork dollars are supporting a nearby cheesemaker in the business of grassfed, raw and goat cheese as well as more conventional cheeses (it’s a family business and Kirk and Brady have gone out of their way to make this work for us.)
I picked up a smaller batch earlier, but this Tuesday we were ready for our first big shipment – 1800 gallons or about 15,000# of whey from making colby and cheddar. Tom got all of our tank capacity ready and on trailers or haywagons. The weather didn’t cooperate – it was about 16 degrees in driving snow. Bad for us, but good for keeping the whey palatable longer.
The truck has a pump and a 3″ line and fills the tanks really quickly.
As it turns out, if you let go of the hose for just a second, you’re likely to get sprayed in the face, which just happened here:
We’re working on getting bigger and more mobile tanks for the summer when the pigs will be rotating more often, but for now, we can just gravity feed whey into troughs, which seems to work just fine. Here we’re just getting every bit we can by filling troughs straight from the truck – usually we’ll feed from our tanks.