Naturally Raised without Antibiotics.
We are excited to announce the newest adventure over here at Brown Family Farm in Oak Park.
We added pigs to our farm!! They are crosses between Berkshire and Duroc, both are well known heritage breeds. These pigs have earned their reputation and are raised for their fat to muscle ratio. For best flavor and tenderness pork should have marbling, which helped us choose our breed!
Local piglets, being raised locally by yours truly, to sell to our local CSA families.
We are selling our pigs has halves and wholes again this season. We're charging a base price per pound ($3.50) and you work directly with our butcher to customize your processing. The thickness of your chops, the amount of hams or roasts, seasoned sausage, you get to choose what you want! Butchering costs are separate and paid directly to the butcher. More info on this below.
William supervising the little piggies while getting used to their new home.
H A P P Y & H E A L T H Y
Animal husbandry should be your first question when considering locally raised meats. How are they cared for? What do they eat? Where do they live and how much space do they have?
Our hogs are raised in a pasture with a shelter and have 100% fresh air, all of the time. They don't go into the barn for anything. That sounds like we're not letting them in the barn but in reality they don't want to be in a barn! They aren't meant to be raised on concrete or in cages under fluorescent lights. Hogs are the ultimate forest creature; their natural habitat allows them to exercise their instincts to root up the ground looking for bugs, worms, roots, and any organic material they can find. Yes, they eat grass too! They are omnivores.
2021 was our first season offering pigs and we had a great set up for them that we built, a house and feeding station. This season, 2022, we are doubling the number of pigs we're raising and also going to be expanding and separating the pig run. The reason we're doing this is because there is quite a bit of virgin ground that we are adding, and we want to be able to rotate them in groups through the pens efficiently. Their pen is centered in the tall grass in our front yard, under big maples and some small poplars (which they love eating!).
As piglets we start them on a special feed. It's a higher protein feed that encourages structural & bone growth early on. After that grain is gone, we switched them to the standard feed. We're picking up 4,000 pounds at a time at the local feed mill.
We offer our feed as "free choice" so they have access all the time, to as much or as little as they want. It encourages healthy eating habits where they're not gorging themselves. It also allows them to forage at their own pace and let their natural instincts shine. They can spend as much or as little effort foraging as they want. Though it seems to be their favorite thing to do!
They also get a new hay bale every 4-5 days when they're small. They cherry pick through it and get all the seeds and tasty remnants. We have been using it as "bedding" because it is what we had on hand. Previous farm owners had left a lot of hay in the loft so we're steadily working through it. It's a welcomed surprise for these pigs for sure! It's hay (not straw) so it does hold a small amount of nutritional value to them but I'd say the main benefit is comfort. They make a hog pile in the hay and bed down like a bunch of baby birds in a nest.
Once farm season starts and we have produce to dispose of, the pigs will be extra-happy campers. We know from previous experience, they welcome produce! Honestly that's why the wild animals like deer eat it too right? It tastes GOOD! So as soon as we're in harvest season they'll be supplemented with plenty of fresh produce.
Enjoying their fresh hay!
I'm ready for my close up!
Building their home!
The way it works is you pay us to raise the pig for you and pay the butcher to process it for you. The cost paid to us is based on the hanging weight of the pig, we charge $3.50 per pound. The butcher prices are listed below.
Our butcher dates in 2023 start in the middle of September and we will bring 7 pigs per week through the end of October. Our September dates are sold out but we still have availability in October!
You can decide how you want it cut up, how thick you want your pork chops, how many of the roasts you want smoked (making it a ham- delicious!!), sausage, etc. They can do specialty processing (which has an extra charge) for smoking, making sausage or ground pork, making brats, with many more options available.
From the day that we drop off our pigs to the day you pick up your processed pork is generally 2-3 weeks. The reason for this is because brining and smoking hams, sausages, etc. takes quite a bit of time. They'll call you directly when your pork is ready and you pay for processing at their shop when you go pick up.
Now that we have a couple years worth of data under our belts, I can share some of the examples from previous season! We plan our butcher dates so that the pigs are right about 225 hanging weight at the time they go to the butcher shop.
One of our longtime customers, Jana W., let me use her pig as an example. She actually price checked our pork vs Hy-Vee and said that our pork was cheaper than their equivalent (naturally raised, pastured). We priced our pork competitively, but I didn't realize we were going to beat out the grocery store for pricing!*
Jana got a half pig that weighed 125#, she ended up with 100# of take home pork for the freezer (you loose some weight with trimming and smoking bacon for example). She paid $220 for processing but said she got a lot of the specialty items made up (which can cost extra depending on what it is), and she paid $430 for her half pig to Ben & I for raising it. So in total she paid $650 for her half and ended up with 100# of specialty products in the freezer.
If you divide that out, it's $6.50 a pound for bacon, chops, ground pork, seasoned, roasts, tenderloin etc.
*If you want a copy of the excel document with the pricing comp shoot me an email and I have permission to share it.
This is the first season that we've had availability for our CSA and New Customers too!
We have raised pigs 3 seasons now and we're slowly expanding every year. This year we still have availability for THIS FALL!! 2023 !!
You can make a pork deposit here by clicking on the product below. I will remove the deposit option as soon as we're sold out for this season!
Once you make a deposit, expect to get more info from me in an email confirming your butcher date as well.