Friday, November 26, 2010

free lunch?

I worked out a deal with the catering company at the office. I bring them a five-gallon bucket with a lid on it and they'll put their food scraps and edible trash inside it for me to take home to the pig. They get rid of their trash, and I get a free bucket of goodies for the pig. I told them as a barter I would bring back some of the USDA certified pork and they could use it in a few meals here for their business. They seemed delighted at the trade as I was.

46 Comments:

Blogger Maria said...

That sounds like a wicked good trade! good on you for always thinking creatively.

November 26, 2010 at 7:23 AM  
Blogger Becky said...

Brilliant!

I just started reading your blog after my sister, Katiegirl, said how much she enjoyed it. I'm really enjoying reading about your farm! One day I hope to have a few acres but until then, I'll enjoy blogs like yours. :)

November 26, 2010 at 7:42 AM  
Blogger Norma from Misty Haven Alpacas said...

Lucky pig, lucky you, lucky environment.

November 26, 2010 at 7:55 AM  
Blogger Kathleen Stoltzfus said...

I raised a couple of pigs a few years ago. Not exactly peaceful creatures, are they? But in terms of meat produced for time/money spent, they are a very good investment. If you enjoy one pig this year, you might consider getting two the next time. From what I've heard, they are very social creatures that enjoy the company of another of their own kind. The guy I bought my feeders from also said they tend to grow faster if you have more than one because if one is eating, it makes the other one also want to eat. Along that line, have you made slurping/eating sounds around your pig yet? It brings them running because they think you're eating and they'd like some. They really are piggy, and I think you'll find the source for all those sayings about "eating like a pig" have a very real source in the pig pen.

By the way, my sister's family is raising a couple of pigs and they are getting the scraps from their church's weekly dinner. You might think about that and other creative ways to feed the pig in addition to the caterer. Such as local grocery store's produce waste. So much food gets thrown away that could be used for growing pork chops, pork shoulder roast, bacon, ribs, sausage, etc.

November 26, 2010 at 7:56 AM  
Blogger daisy said...

How brilliant is that?

November 26, 2010 at 7:57 AM  
Blogger Flartus said...

The pig looks happy too. Maybe you should name her Lunch?

November 26, 2010 at 8:32 AM  
Blogger Stace said...

I wouldn't advertise this too widely, there are some very strict rules about pigs and swill....to help protect from foot and mouth disease and hog cholera. I lived in a town where a farmer had been getting leftovers and scrapings from the local school for 30 years for his hogs, and when a local compost company came in and asked about getting the leftovers, there was a HUGE tado about it. It ended up the school was told that it could be fined MILLIONS of dollars (going back 30 years retroactive) for breaking this law. The farmer would have been ok, because the meat was only for his own consumption, but he still lost his swill source. Anyway, I'm just saying be careful whom you tell because it could cause some serious issues for you and the catering company if there is ANY chance those scraps have been anywhere NEAR another kind of meat product.

November 26, 2010 at 8:48 AM  
Blogger katiegirl said...

Holy overreaction, Batman. :-)

November 26, 2010 at 9:49 AM  
Blogger Sherry Sutherby http://russ-stickacres.blogspot.com/ said...

If you're not a pig farmer, this may seem like an over-reaction, but Stace has a good point. It's against the law to feed swill in Australia (http://www.dpi.qld.gov.au/4790_12939.htm) and it is being carefully watched in the U.S. Pigs are very similar to humans in the diseases they can encounter - and you can actually share diseases back and forth. Some deadly. Just make sure it hasn't been "discarded" after humans have left their germs (scrapings from a plate, etc.) You can get creative with friends, and those who know you farm. As a matter of fact, I came home with a truckload of sugar beets and pumpkins we pulled from a garden after Thanksgiving dinner yesterday. Happy pigs today.

November 26, 2010 at 11:03 AM  
Blogger E said...

Great idea, but I am also under the impression that this is a big no-no. Esp anything that has been on a plate (potential contact with human mouth, back to kitchen, to animals and back to humans) is more or less considered toxic waste.

November 26, 2010 at 11:06 AM  
Blogger Karen said...

Isn't it great what you can get just for asking? I just picked up six hay bales to mulch my garden from a store that was going to thow them out after using them for decoration.
I say, barter away!

November 26, 2010 at 11:22 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

I'm not worried about the bio-security of stale muffins and day-old wrapped salads. Good grief.

November 26, 2010 at 11:27 AM  
Blogger Siberian said...

Just another suggestion. If you have a local bakery, see if they will give you their old stale bread that's taken off the shelves. Michael Perry talked about this in his book "Coop" and apparently pigs love it!

November 26, 2010 at 11:33 AM  
Blogger Stace said...

I thought the reaction to the Burke pig farmer/shool leftovers was a big overreaction as well, so I did the research and the reasons behind the law and it made more sense to me. All I was trying to say was to be careful who knows. I love bartering and having two pigs here I know how expensive the feed can be (wow they start eating a lot when they get bigger!). I wish I could find a place around here that I could get old produce for them...they love squash :)

November 26, 2010 at 11:47 AM  
Blogger goatgirl said...

I find it very interesting that in some of the blogs I read, people comment about a certain story and then are made to feel bad about what they said. Then everyone else jumps on the bandwagon.
Since you are fairly new to this farming thing wouldn't it be better to place these in the "Good to Know" file and then do what your going to do without making one of your readers feel bad for bringing it up.

November 26, 2010 at 12:20 PM  
Blogger SWEETHEARTS MOM said...

Actually I don't think you will keep your USDA certification if they find out you are doing this. Have you asked your rep?

November 26, 2010 at 12:29 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

First of all, no one should feel bad if I don't agree with your comment. Anyone can say whatever they like, but I have a right to reply/explain myself.

Second. I am not USDA certified. The slaughterhouse is. I am not selling this pork to anyone. It is for my own consumption, friends, and barter with the people who will be well aware of what it ate.

The pig gets a grain based/pellet/veggie diet as well as the scraps from work.

November 26, 2010 at 12:38 PM  
Blogger doglady said...

Having experienced the over abundance of fat on pigs a friend and I raised on left overs from a nursing home, I would not feed muffins, donuts, cakes etc. Vegetables will work out fine. I also would also make sure there was no meat in the leftovers. The reality is you will have a better carcass thus better pork if you just spring for a little expense and feed pig grower and hay. Here is a website I found that has a nice list of potential food for pigs with reasoning behind it and he likes using bread.
http://ebeyfarm.blogspot.com/2009/11/pigs-hay-and-free-food.html

November 26, 2010 at 12:51 PM  
Blogger Denise said...

This year after Halloween, I contacted my local fruit stand and agreed to buy all the left over pumpkins they had. This gave me a BIG stack of squash for my chickens (and a few for the turkeys before they met the freezer) for just a few cents on the pound. The chickens eat the pumpkin right down to the hull! And the few eggs they are making right now have the same deep golden yolk as they did during high summer. Of course they still get the corn/ grain ration, but the cheap pumpkins really cut downs on the store bought stuff.
I love our local fruit stands. Though closed for the season now, they are always willing to offer their leftover soft fruits and veggies for anyone who was interested.
Good luck!

November 26, 2010 at 1:21 PM  
Blogger Paula said...

You could always don a headlamp and go dumpster diving like Novella Carpenter did.

Good luck feeding your lucky pig!

November 26, 2010 at 1:47 PM  
Blogger ladybughomer said...

I do like the passion of all the farmers on this blog. I have been sitting here trying to decide between stuffing or mashed potatoes for lunch and I find a really interesting discussion on piggies. If only big business cared this much. Go you small farmers. Lucky ones.

November 26, 2010 at 2:02 PM  
Blogger CJ said...

I used to work in the restaurant business long ago and we had a farmer that did the same thing. Eventually the restaurants were told by the local health dept to cease the process. I don't know if fines were ever threatened, just being a restaurant and having the health dept on your back is enough to cause action.

Anyway, as I've said before, I've raised pigs most my life and I've always avoided the practice but not for the reasons stated. I don't feed my pigs processed food. I raise pigs so I don't have to eat processed food, by putting store bought food into my pig, I'm just delaying the process of all the chemicals and preservatives getting into my food supply. Unless you can get locally produced/grown natural food scraps I don't think it's worth it.

Just my opinion, take it for what its worth. Thanks for FB add the other day.

November 26, 2010 at 2:10 PM  
Blogger Meredith A said...

as a first time pig owner and being new to farming i'd think you'd take others warnings/experience more seriously than responding with a "good grief"

those who follow your blog have a valid concern for your safety as well as that of your animals and those who might eat your livestock in the future.

you can find priceless native wisdom concerning farming, livestock/wildlife management, hunting etc. through individuals comments on this blog, with much of that advice worth heeding.

November 26, 2010 at 3:13 PM  
Blogger goatgirl said...

Of course you have the right to say anything you want on your blog. But sometimes it's not what you say but how you say it and if you put people in their place then you get only comments that agree with you. I have learned so much from the people that read my blog and if I blasted the ones that didn't agree with me then I would just get a bunch of cheerleaders that tell me how wonderful I am. Replying/explaining and giving a sarcastic answer are two different things.
I could probably put people in their place on my blog but then again I'm not trying to sell anything.
I'm just sayin'

November 26, 2010 at 3:20 PM  
Blogger Cheryl said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

November 26, 2010 at 3:21 PM  
Blogger Cheryl said...

She's adorable ... did I miss if you named her yet?

November 26, 2010 at 3:26 PM  
Blogger sheila said...

Post consumer waste (food that a human mouth touched as in stuff from plates) and meat (trichinosis is spread from undercooked infected pork) need to be pressure cooked before feeding to pigs. Pigs and humans share diseases. The muffins and other things are OK for pigs in moderation, but if you feed large amounts of that stuff the meat quality will suffer.

November 26, 2010 at 3:28 PM  
Blogger sheila said...

Darn... the rest of my post was cut off for some reason.


The best pork I ever raised was when we had dairy cows and mixed the hog mash with milk. Pigs go nuts over slop mixed up with milk. Milk fed pork is amazing stuff so sweet and tender!

November 26, 2010 at 3:31 PM  
Blogger Moose Nugget said...

As a small time new farmer raising meat for my own consumption, I think "good grief" is an excellent response.

Have you ever stopped to think what's in your supermarket pork? Honestly, if you don't think that big time old hand farmers aren't taking some shortcuts and throwing leftovers over their fences to the hogs to lower costs then you are missing the point.

Jenna, if Alaska weren't so far from you, I'd be honored to eat a well fatted, muffin and salad fed piece of swine with you.

Good grief. :)

November 26, 2010 at 3:38 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Are you feeding this pig organic feed? Because if so, if the caterer's leftovers are not also organic, then you're potentially going to end up with a pig whose tissues contain trace residues of whatever was put on the vegetables or in the grain used for the breads. As Michael Pollan says, you are whatever what you're eating eats!

November 26, 2010 at 3:43 PM  
Blogger Meredith A said...

moose nugget...did you know the 2001 foot and mouth epidemic in the UK was believed to have been caused by pigs eating contaminated catering waste? as a result millions of animals were killed in efforts to help stop the spread of disease.

i doubt you'd have the same laissez faire attitude if you were a farmer in the UK who lost their entire herd within the past 10 years because of a fellow farmers livestock feeding practices.

November 26, 2010 at 4:05 PM  
Blogger E said...

Unfortunately, so much of food & animals is not longer question of common sense.
I also say "good grief". But you are a high profile blogger with your name and address front and center.

Discretion may be the name of the game.

November 26, 2010 at 4:06 PM  
Blogger sheila said...

I never worried about feeding table scraps from my own table to pigs that my own family was going to eat. However, I wouldn't go out and gather food stream waste from the public (unless I was set up to pressure cook it). That would just multiply the chances of giving the pigs a communicable disease. Living in a country where large numbers of people have no health care and many are from all over the world makes me a bit nervous. The risk of running into and spreading diseases is very real.

I grew up on a farm and have been around farms my whole life. Laws were enacted for a reason, people got sick. Ignore them at your own peril.

November 26, 2010 at 4:46 PM  
Blogger CJ said...

I like Jenna's pluckiness. She is a smart person, couldn't have gotten this far if she wasn't. Jenna if you have the time, pigs love acorns and they give the meat a nice flavor - perhaps you have some oak trees around your property - another cheap feed addition.

There was a pig farmer on Mike Rowe's Dirty Jobs that took all the buffet scraps from the Vegas strip (meat and all) and boiled it up into one big stew that he feed his market hogs. Thrifty yes but it was disgusting, that my friends is what you are getting when purchase pork in the store you just don't know about it. You see the bucolic pictures on the wrappers and go about your day - beef is even worse.

My dad has two sayings when it comes to farming. 1)Does it put milk in the pail and 2)Life gives you the test and then teaches you the lesson.

Jenna will figure out what works best for her.

November 26, 2010 at 5:08 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

Goatgirl, I do apologize if my tone put you off. One of the things about writing about something you live everyday is you forget that the readers don't know all the details, and when they bring up points or ask questions, it's not because they are fussy or rue: but because they want to know something they don't. So sorry if that was bitchy.

It didn't help I read that at the office while on my lunchbreak, when I wished I was with my family in PA and wasn't fast enough to get the free pizza in the lunch room. So I was crappy and hungry to boot.

Anyway...

Now, what I should have explained is that what I am getting in my swill bucket isn't swill at all. The catering company is not giving me anything that is human-touched, garbage or waste. What they are giving me is the sandwiches, baked good, and cooking extras taht would usually be thrown in the trash like ends of brocoli stalks or leftover rice from an asian dish. What they are putting in the pig bucket is food prepared for people that people didn't buy, so all those muffins and salads wrapped up behind glass no one took, that they can't sell the next day, get thrown in my container as opposed to the trash. Nothing from a used plate goes into the pot. Just cooking extras and unsold human food.

So I'm not sure why the idea that used food scraps were pulled from the trash came into the equation? That is not the case.

And no name for the pig, but pig.

November 26, 2010 at 5:14 PM  
Blogger sheila said...

Jenna, I think it was good to get all the ideas out there. This way people reading your post and the comments get all points of view and can decide for themselves with some idea of the issues involved in feeding pigs.

I bet you will be eating some fine tasting pork chops in a few months!

November 26, 2010 at 5:33 PM  
Blogger doglady said...

Moose Nugget,most of the people reading and commenting on this blog wouldn't dream of buying pork in the grocery store. It all comes from agribusiness factory farms which is exactly what we are avoiding by raising our own.

November 26, 2010 at 5:59 PM  
Blogger Kris said...

Wow. I just read every single post here. I have raised 6 pigs and gave them scraps from church suppers and day old breads and cakes from Merrita bread co. Plus the pig feed. And LOTS of goat milk. I never even thought about the scraps from people's plates being bad for them. I am sure glad I saw this because I am about to get 2 more little piglets soon and don't want to make that mistake again. So thanks for all the great advice here.

I know that grocery stores and restaraunts are not allowed by law to save food scraps anymore. I have asked. They can be fined very heavily. So I will ask friends to save me their scraps of fruits and veggies and breads only. Plus lots of good goat milk and extra eggs.

Jenna, you are very creative and very resourceful. I have learned alot from you and this blog. Also from all your very smart readers here. Keep up the good work! And that little piggie is going to be huge really soon.

November 26, 2010 at 7:18 PM  
OpenID ruralaspirations said...

Didn't know you had a pig, congrats! We have two, our first, and have really enjoyed them. And we feed them kitchen scraps every day, including those scraped from our plates. They are due to go to slaughter this weekend and while I'll miss them, I'm very much looking forward to having a freezer full of home-grown pork!

I have to wonder if all this panic over food that has touched a human mouth (which frankly I never read in any of the articles on pig raising I perused; in fact many encouraged me to do exactly as Jenna is doing) is perhaps an issue more relevant to factory-raised pigs who are in horrible states of health anyways and thus susceptible to all sorts of diseases. I wonder if a couple of home-raised, free-ranging, pastured pigs would really be in that much danger.

Definitely do get another, though. They are very social and a single pig is a lonely pig.

November 26, 2010 at 9:53 PM  
Blogger Moose Nugget said...

doglady- I've read and followed this blog for some time. I know a lot of Jenna's readers are raising their own meat. I know a good number of them are not, though hopeful they might someday.
I've raised some of my own animals. I've bought meat from sustainable and ethical farmers. I hunt and fish plenty of it too. I'll admit though, that sometimes a hankering for pulled pork sandwhiches or chops has sent me to my local grocer- especially when the cost of pork from my local farmer is prohibitive.
I'd guess there are a handful of grocery store shoppers reading this blog, hopeful they'll have better options , but like me, not ready to fully commit to never having another slab of bacon until all pigs are small farm raised.

My attitude is hardly flippiant. It's realistic.
My previous comment was meant to be supportive of Jenna- not to solicit assumptions and criticism from folks who don't know the first thing about me or my own farm experience and practices.
You are welcome to get to know my farm at littlefarmonthetundra.blogspot.com
(forgive the shameless plug, Jenna!)

Sorry mainstream farmers lost tons of pigs in the UK. Practices that work in small herd and flock numbers (like leftovers) don't work in large operations. Even a small time farmer who's ever got in over her head with 5 dozen chickens knows this. (aka-this farmer)

Jenna- I'd STILL enjoy a lovely slab of pork with you.

November 26, 2010 at 10:04 PM  
OpenID ysmeine said...

I am glad she is not using partially consumed food. There are risks, not from consuming the meat, but by the spread of pathegens. When viruses pass from humans to pig or bird then back to humans they often mutate. Think H1N1 or the Spanish Flu. Granted a solitary pig is much less of a risk than the large production hog lot. That is where the true risk is. But as a caretaker you want the best for your animals and you would want pig to get sick from those germy people.

Yes, good grief but these are facts. And those who imply that Jenna "knows best," even she admits she is in the proccess of a learning experience. She has admitted to making mistakes. After all she is human.

It is important to know that the government conciders batering a type of sales, and that you can be taxed on them or held responsible for any action as if it were a sale.

November 27, 2010 at 1:25 AM  
Blogger storms said...

A spider named charlotte is spinning her web..."some pig". I wish you well with your 1st pig. If the pig is lonely I like leftover's too.

November 27, 2010 at 4:23 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

I know two pigs would be happier, but it would also be twice the feed, twice the housing, twice the everything and for a first four month go of things, I wanted to go solo. So far, she seems fine. She eats, drinks, and spends a lot of time with a Cornish Rock Rooster who shares the barn with her. A very Timon and Pumba sorta deal.

I'm going to stop by Flying Pig Farm this weekend to pick up some bacon. I'll ask them their thoughts on feed and such. As professional sustainable hog farmers, I will certainly take their advice!

November 27, 2010 at 6:03 AM  
Blogger katiegirl said...

Just stopping back by to see the rest of the comments. I think we can all agree that practices that work well for small farms do not necessarily work well for factory farming and vice versa. Comparing hog farms in the UK to Jenna's single pig is hardly fair.

November 29, 2010 at 6:08 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

Oh, good. Unless you find the suggestions of “ Flying Pig Farm" too controversial, I would be interested in knowing what they feed their pigs. Could you share what you find out?

Thanks

November 30, 2010 at 1:51 AM  
Blogger novella said...

jenna;
honey, i feel your pain! it's so hard not to take comments personally, especially because they aren't softened with an actual body and face that you can talk to. i hate the interweb.
have fun with piggerton, that's gonna be some tasty bacon!

December 2, 2010 at 8:52 PM  

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