Pork as a Traditional Fall Food

We get excited about different veggies as they come on throughout the season, knowing they might only be here for a few weeks or a few months. At one time, meat was seasonal, too, but as a whole, we as modern-day eaters have forgotten that.

Pre-grocery store times, meat was largely a fall food item. It might make sense that meat would be a primary food source when homegrown vegetables stopped producing. It also might make sense that in the north, it was easier to store meat through the winter because it’s literally like a freezer outside.

Fresh pork, like chops and roasts, was a late-fall food because pigs would fatten on the mast—forest fruits and nuts—in early autumn. Bacon and ham would be cured and could be eaten throughout the year. The traditional Easter ham made sense because it was springtime when the ham was finished curing. 

Thanks to the walk-in freezers at Elmwood Stock Farm, you’re able to access organic, pasture-raised, Berkshire pork all year round, with the exception of some of the most popular cuts that sell out quickly. Yet we’re reminded of the seasonality of meat as we make the slow turn into fall. Yes, it’s in the 90s this week, but Labor Day—a great grilling holiday and the unofficial start to fall—is just ahead.

When the Berkshire pigs joined the Elmwood Stock Farm livestock family in 2017, they fit right in to our rotational-pasture system. They have room to roam, root in the dirt for tasty snacks and build mud holes to express their natural piggy behavior. Their diet of organic grains and minerals is supplemented by an unlimited supply of drinking water, forages from our pastures and dirt. Organic pigs are never treated with antibiotics, growth promotants or chemical dewormers, producing great-tasting food with integrity.

Going back to pre-grocery store time, and before the advent of concentrated animal feeding operations, pretty much every small farm had pigs. Pigs are smaller animals than cattle, yet they offer a large range of products.

You may have noticed our announcements of new pork products over the past few weeks! We’re excited to be able to offer more of the organic, pasture-raised pork items you’ve requested: 

Sausages

We love sausage links for grilling, sausage patties for the skillet, and bulk sausage for gravies, pasta dishes and egg bakes. Brats and andouille sausage links, Garden Blend sausage patties, and hot, mild and sage breakfast sausage fill all of these needs. 

One-pot penne with sausage and arugula is a favorite recipe around here.

We’re always trying out new sausage varieties, so keep an eye on the inventory in the online store!

Chops

Bone-in Berkshire pork chops are tender and flavorful with just the right amount of marbling. Wait, marbling in pork? Yes. Heritage, pasture-raised pork was never intended to be that pale, overly lean meat that the industrial pork-marketing complex sold to us years ago. These organic Berkshire pork chops are perfect for grilling or for roasting.

Try the lemon garlic grilled pork chop recipe from a past Elmwood Stock Farm enewsletter.

Ribs

Our most sought-after Berkshire pork cuts are the ribs. Country-style, baby back and spare ribs are so popular, in fact, they sometimes don’t even make it to the online store. (The customizable CSA Farm Share members get first dibs on all Elmwood Stock Farm products, and if they speak up first, they get the ribs!) 

The country-style Berkshire pork ribs are more plentiful than the other cuts, so you might start there, if you’re looking for a high-quality rib experience. Roasting them in the oven is a basic slow-cooking process. This recipe is about as simple as it gets.

Roasts

Boston butt shoulder roast and boneless loin roast are both larger cuts of our organic Berkshire pork. 

The Boston butt shoulder roast is just waiting to be slow roasted and pulled into BBQ. Cook this on your smoker or grill or in your oven or slow cooker. For the upcoming Labor Day cookout weekend, try this recipe for grilled Boston butt shoulder roast.

The boneless loin roast—not the pork tenderloin—is also ideal for slow roasting and is more often sliced rather than shredded. You want indirect heat from an oven or a grill, rather than moist heat from a slow cooker, to bring out the best taste and texture. We think this garlic pork loin roast looks great.

Lard

The darling of perfect pie crusts and a great all-around shortening substitute, organic, pasture-raised Berkshire lard is a clean-tasting, trans-fat-free cooking fat. This is a brand new product for Elmwood Stock Farm!

You can also find unrendered pork fat in the online store, which is great for soap and candle making and for rendering your own lard.

Ham

Also new to the farm’s lineup of offerings are several Berkshire hams. These smaller smoked ham roasts are more manageable for your home cooking! There are also ham steaks, which are wonderful, thick slices of ham for grilling or cooking in the skillet. The ingredients in these smoked hams are all-natural, meaning we don’t use nitrates or nitrites—just organic, pasture-raised Berkshire pork, sea salt, paprika, turbinado sugar, spices and celery juice powder.

Ham hocks are available, too, in both smoked and unseasoned varieties.

Heart & Liver

It’s easy to turn up your nose at these cuts if you don’t know how to cook them or didn’t grow up eating them, but give them a second look! Heart and liver are economical to buy, easy to cook with and have impressive nutritional value. Marinated pig heart takes on a quality that is almost beef-like, and pork liver can be prepared a number of ways.

Bacon

Not all bacon is created equal! You know this already. Even within the pasture-raised organic, Berkshire bacon offerings here at the farm, you have five bacon choices to satisfy your preferences. You’ve been enjoying seasoned belly bacon and seasoned jowl bacon for a few years now. Just this year, smoked bacon options came available: smoked belly bacon, smoked jowl bacon and smoked bacon ends! 

Each type of bacon is nitrate- and nitrite-free—we don’t want them in our food, and we know you don’t want them in yours. The ingredients are simple: organic pastured pork, sea salt, paprika, turbinado sugar, spices and celery juice powder.

Today, we can appreciate these pasture-raised meats year-round—or nearly year-round, in the case of limited availability of cuts—and it’s important that we remember that responsibly raised meat is a special thing, no matter the time of year. Learn more of the story about how your organic Berkshire pork is produced at Elmwood Stock Farm on this web page. And shop for your preferred cuts of pork online.

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