Skip to content

Lauren and Brandon discuss the landscape of heritage breed pork production in the U.S. on the small scale.  You’ll see that for being heritage breed enthusiasts they hesitate to encourage everyone to go get the first heritage animals you can get your hands on.

For the sustainability and long term conservation of these breeds we need to expand the focus from only the 1) breeding and 2) raising (the first two links in the chain of their lifespan) of these pigs, and start 3) processing, 4) marketing and 5) eating (the latter 3 links in the chain) these pigs as they should be….which is very different from how lean pigs ought to be processed, marketed and eaten.

Show Notes

Topics Discussed

Introduction and Announcements:

  • Join us on Instagram!  We do stories several times a week on what Brandon’s doing in the shop and on the field.
  • Meatsmith Mangalitza Pork Share partnership with Westland Distillery; you can sample our pork paired with their whiskey at Cochon 555 competitions throughout the country in 2018. Come taste it out in Seattle April 22nd, Austin in May, as well as Miami and Denver in June.
  • One more Mangalitza share is available for purchase now!…and more to come this summer, so email us to reserve one:
  • Membership will be open through April 11th!…. (extended from the original April 8th deadline.)
  • Come to the Feast of Divine Mercy!  April 8th, 2018, or any 2nd Sunday of Easter in the future (the Sunday after Easter Sunday). Check out the Vimeo film below and email us for details.

Content: Making heritage breed livestock sustainable; a straight-shooting conversation on the pork heritage breed landscape in America.

  • ‘Heritage’ is a confusing term; ‘lard pig,’ ‘bacon pig,’ and ‘lean pig’ might be better to indicate the actual physiology of the pigs you’re growing, processing and eating.
  • Pastured Pork? This can be a misleading term.
  • The allure of taking ‘free’ heritage/rare breeds (or any livestock!) before you’re ready.
  • Lauren’s 5 step (another phase outline 🙂 narrative for the heritage livestock you’re supposed to breed, raise, process, sell and eat.
    • Breeding (often the only step small agriculture wants to promote and improve).
    • Husbandry
    • Processing
    • Selling
    • Eating
  • Hardships exist at each stage of the heritage animal’s biological and economic lifespan.  For the sustainability of small farmers growing them, butchers harvesting them, and consumers purchasing them, we must raise the bar at each of these phases.
  • Tangent on Pig Psychology…which is especially important to consider when slaughtering non-heritage breeds.
  • Discerning lard pigs from bacon pigs from lean pigs to help you in your husbandry plan.
  • Economic realities of the custom processor in America: they are all setup (infrastructure, personnel, work flow, etc.) to process all pigs as if they are lean pigs….thereby rendering much of the hard-won/husbanded fat on the lard or bacon heritage breed.  This can mess with the financial expectations of the farmer, or (if a processor does grant the customer all the fat that the farmer asked for) many time a consumer may be–at best–confused or–at worst–frustrated, and forego purchasing a heritage breed again: this creates a vicious cycle that is hard to extract oneself from, no matter where you stand in the narrative.
  • No more blaming the Heritage breed for problems that are a result of monkey wrenches in the system between farmer, processor and consumer!
  • Where the rubber meets the road is setting the price…farmers must charge properly, and consumers must pay properly.  This is the beginning of real value and real economy; no one is getting exploited.
  • We must also think of heritage breed fat as treasure, rather than burden….which will help the economic sustainability of the consumer in the long run.

Links for Episode 10

-Instagram page:

-Maynard Davies:

-Meatsmith Mangalitza  and Gloucester Old Spot Pork Shares for Sale: 

-Westland Distillery:

-Cochon 555 nation-wide events:

-Meatsmith Membership:

-Divine Mercy Feast lamb roast:

-Canlis; Seattle’s landmark fine-dining restaurant:


Support A Meatsmith Harvest podcast on Patreon:

Back To Top