Well hello there fancy friends, or "kiaora" as our mates from New Zealand might say. We dropped in on a family farm in Clermont, FL this weekend and wanted to share what we found.
Mountain Trail Farm is a multi-species farm that raises happy hens (laying healthy eggs), goats, and Kunekune pigs. The Kunekune (pron. "cooney cooney") pig is a breed that has been developed by Maori, the indigenous people of New Zealand. In the 1970's the Kunekune almost went extinct. Two preservationists, Michael Willis and John Simister, are credited with saving the breed. Kunekune can now be found in New Zealand, Europe and North America.
The Kunekune pig is similar to the Mangalitsa in that it is a breed that puts on lots of fat. We call them "lard pigs" in the industry. With a harvest weight of about 250 pounds, the Kunekune dont grow quite as large as the Mangalitsa though. The Kunekune is also known as "the grazing pig" because they are best raised on pasture. Nathan, the farmer we spoke with, says that they are quite content with grass. He says they love acorns too and will root tirelessly even for one little crunch of one. He also spreads out a bit of spent grain from Bowigens Beer Company (Casselberry, FL) and Hourglass Brewing (Longwood, FL).
Nathan tells me that his kids chose the Kunekune breed after seeing them at Disney's Animal Kingdom. The resident pigs at Mountain Trail Farm all get named after charcuterie. We met "Bacon", "Bratwurst", and "Ham". He says that he names the pigs after food because he wants his children to understand that these aren't pets. We like this idea. It helps us to appreciate the tremendous sacrifice that it takes to put meat on the dinner table.
We're going to be using Kunekune pigs in several applications. Expect to see a new seasonal bacon around Christmas time with winter flavors like juniper berry, white pepper and rosemary. We'll be putting Kunekune cuts like pork chops into the Butcher CSA Boxes for our clients eating a high fat low carb diet (Atkins, Keto, etc.). We'll be adding the fat from Kunekune to the very lean Wild Boar Breakfast Sausage in The Hunt Club box. And we'll be using it to make Spuma Di Lardo in The Charcuterie Box, which you hopefully saw in The New York Times 2017 Holiday Gift Buying Guide. And maybe we'll do a Beer Bratwurst. It seems like a good system. Make beer. Feed spent grain to pigs. Make sausages. Drink. Eat. Repeat.
Per usual, all of our boxes ship nationwide with QR codes that you can scan with your smartphone. The codes will tell you all of the farms that we used to put your order together. Thanks for tagging along with us on this farm trip! See you at the market.