Sunday, February 1, 2009

Going Whole Hog. Well, Quarter Hog Anyway.

Because I think pigs are lovable but delicious, I have been trying to avoid factory farmed pork. It's unspeakable cruel to animals, workers, neighbors and the environment. Also, supermarket pork shops taste like crap. But buying from farmer Tom at the Saturday market is, A) Expensive, B) I overslept, C) Not possible until the market starts again in April, D) All of the above.

Lucky for me, my uncle is a member of the Winter Harvest buying club and has a freezer of his own. So we split a half pig, pasture-raised on a Pennsylvania farm. For $300, you get approx 70 lbs; cuts include (approx weights): chops with bone 12 lbs; ham 16 lbs; 2 shoulder roasts 6 lbs total; bacon 6 lbs; country sausage 12 lbs; scrapple 10 lbs; ground pork 8 lbs. So I have half that in my freezer. Well, less than half that. I ate some bacon and scrapple for breakfast, gave away a pound of scrapple (5 pounds is seriously more than I will eat in a long time) and I made pork chops stuffed with apple stuffing in a cider sauce.

So, needless to say, stay tuned for lots of pork recipes soon. I may even attempt The Bacon Explosion.

Frugal Factor:
To buy all this a' la carte from the buying club would have cost me $245 and possibly even more at the farmer's market. Well, to be fair, I would have bought less scrapple. I love scrapple and all, but c'mon. But let's just say $245. I spent $150. That's 39% off. So for the ham, usually $8/lb, I spent only about $4.89. I paid $3.99 for a Smithfield on sale around Thanksgiving, so that's not too much more to pay for something much more delicious and less cruel.

Of course, the some of the other stuff is much more expensive either way. Supermarket pork is often only $1-$2/lb for chops or sausage. But really, meat should not be that cheap. It's a little obscene in this country that a pound of pork costs less than a pound of broccoli. No wonder everybody's on Lipitor.

To further alleviate my omnivorific dilemma, I also made a donation to Heifer for three shares of a pig for a family in some country nobody wants to visit. Holy man that I am, I'll still have a heart attack if I eat that bacon explosion.


J T. Ramsay said...

My family used to give us half a lamb at Christmastime when they were still raising sheep. I think my mom wants to give Helen and me something like this pork pack this year, but we still need to get a (pretty large) freezer before taking the plunge.

I can't wait.

Eugene said...

One time I ate five pounds of scrapple. Then I died.