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Pig Out

Pork belly, bacon, loins, chops, sausage, fatback, lardo, pancetta, ham and lard…oh my. I am well aware that we write an overwhelmingly disproportionate amount of recipes that involve pork. If Brandon didn’t say, “Hey, let’s eat some beef tonight.”, we’d only eat pork..and some eggs too. Along with its fat, pork tastes like no other protein out there. It is my hands. down. favorite. Obviously.

Conventional Wisdom hasn’t been kind to the poor piggy. Back in the day (like your great-grandma’s), lard was king in the kitchen. I’d like to call it the ‘better butter’. You can fry, saute, bake and even SPREAD it…like butter. The low-fat mantra that’s kept the world’s people in carb-induced commas (we like to call these people Carb Zombies), has conjured up its replacement–the ‘healthy’ trans-fat filled hydrogenated fats and everyone’s new favorite kitchen go-to fat, le vegetable oil. How oxymoronic does that sound?

Now-a-days, pigs are bred leaner and are being butchered much, much younger. Why? Because we dictate what goes on the supermarket shelves. And we’re demanding lean meats. Pork is now called ‘the other white meat’, instead of what it used to be… a beautiful, marbled, rosy pink. Grocery store pork now must be brined to give it any hint of flavor or taste.

Piggy fat is like all other animal fats: a mixture of saturated, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids. Percentages will vary by breed and diet, but pork fat is mostly monounsaturated in the form of oleic fatty acid. Pork fat’s low level of polyunsaturated fatty acids means a.) it doesn’t turn rancid as easily, (read: excellent for high heat cooking) and  b.) it should not be feared and in fact, should be preferred above almost all others.

So, on to what this whole post is about. Caw Caw Creek. Who they is? Well, they’s a pig farm. Not just any pig farm, but one located right (about) here in Columbia, South Carolina. Every recipe that we write and eat that involves pork; this is the pork we’re eating. Check out the video below, and you can check out the pork we’re eating too:

Now a days, everyone is making a big deal about where their food comes from, and rightfully so. But, if we don’t know the farmer, then what do we really know? All we have to go on is what the label says. Frankly, I don’t trust labels. I really don’t. Organic, Grass-Fed, Pastured, Cage-Free, etc. They all have their little caveats thanks to the FDA & USDA, so you NEVER really know what you’re getting, unless, like I said, you know the farmer.

Well, guess what? We know Caw Caw Creek. The triple F (father, farmer and founder), Emile DeFelice is a member at our CrossFit box. That fact right there makes him pretty solid in our book, but he also  founded the most popular and successful local farmer’s market in the area. So what’s the big deal about this guy and why should you care?  He only sells completely pasture and forest raised pigs and those pigs are only rare & heritage breeds of pork–breeds like: Spotted Poland China, old-line Duroc, and Berkshire. So you’re not only getting an actual pasture/forest/foraging raised piece of chow, but a fancy-pants, gourmet one too. Caw Caw Creek has been featured in Bon Appétite Magazine and most recently, on the Cooking Channel. They supply their pork to restaurants owned by people like…Daniel Boulud, Thomas Keller, Frank Stitt, and Michelle Bernstein. Ever heard of them? Also, I should mention their pork is–duh, humanely raised, but also just as important, humanely ‘harvested’ too–if you know what I’m sayin’.

So, why I am telling you all this wonderful-ness when most of you don’t even live anywhere near South Carolina? Because you can order online! Woohoo to that! Bacon, Fresh Chorizo, Whole Suckling Pig, Lard, Country Prosciutto, Pig Ears (for the doggy?) and even a 50 lb smorgasbord.

So there you go, a farmer, that maybe you don’t know, but we do. Someone that we’re willing to stand behind and hopefully help give you peace of mind about the pork you eat, because it’s the pork we eat too.

If you can vouch for any farmer(s) in your area, and they sell their products online, please include them in the comments section! The more resources, the merrier!

We are NOT being paid or compensated in any way, shape, or pork form for writing this.

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14 Comments

  • Reply
    Paula
    February 8, 2011 at 7:09 am

    Thanks for this! I’ll check them out!

  • Reply
    Bridget
    February 8, 2011 at 8:27 pm

    Thanks for the info! I just ordered a side of pastured beef and have been looking for pastured pork and haven’t been able to find any. There’s a ranch near me that does “natural” pork, but I’ve never really understood what that means outside of no hormones or prophylactic antibiotics. Plus, they are much more expensive (and I don’t think it’s fancy pants pork)! I’m planning on ordering the quarter pig and it says request any mix of sausages.. any recommendations?

  • Reply
    megan keatley
    February 8, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    anything! honestly…we just had the onion. love the chorizo, the brats, the hot italian is awesome too. haven’t had a bad one yet.

  • Reply
    WP @ The Conscious Life
    February 10, 2011 at 3:44 am

    Hi Megan, Thanks for the great post! I read a book called Nourishing traditions and it cited a study saying that pork protein can cause serious changes in the blood and the report presumably used organic pork. Heard anything like that before? That got me worried, because I eat pork regularly. I don’t live in the US and can’t really afford to buy pasture-raised meats, including pork, every day. So, I relied heavily on those I can find in the nearby supermarket. Thanks for any advice.

  • Reply
    megan keatley
    February 10, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    i’ve read that book myself and can’t recall that particular part. the only thing i’ve ever heard a/b pork is trichinosis…but that can happen w/ any meat, really.

    the only other thing i can really say is that the WAPF, from my understanding, is definitely pro-pork.

    i’d be interested to hear what the book said a/b it, if you wouldn’t mind expounding…

  • Reply
    ashley
    February 10, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    I order from Native Meats in the upstate. They may deliver to Columbia as well. All their meat is pastured. Check them out online. Love Caw Caw creek!

  • Reply
    megan keatley
    February 12, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    thanks for the resource ashley! i feel like i’ve seen this before. do you know if this is the brand in the freezer case at earth fare?

  • Reply
    Merritt
    February 22, 2011 at 11:35 am

    Looks to me like the pigs are being fed grain (corn) in the background of the video…

  • Reply
    brandon keatley
    February 22, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    they do have to be fed a supplemental diet…just like chickens. emile says that somewhere in a video, must be a different one. even joel salatin (of Polyface farms, Food Inc., Omnivores Dilemma, etc.) has to feed them something more than the bugs and grubs they can find. best i can tell chickens and hogs do fine on some grain (especially birds). i have looked for this info but it’s hard to find, maybe someone else knows. can pigs and chickens eat grains without harm (birds and rodents can digest grains, i believe). even grass fed cows would be eating some grass seeds if you think about it, albeit not the majority of their diet. so i don’t think you can get away from this fact entirely with almost any pastured meat you’ll ever come across. the access to all that space to also eat whatever they can find is what makes the difference. i think you’d be hard pressed to find a better pork that is affordable – this one or an equivalent. and when you think about it…what would be the ideal diet for a pig? anybody know?

  • Reply
    Ashley
    April 28, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    How about Niman Ranch, I believe they are based out of San Francisco. I have had several of their meats and they are amazing. They have beef, pork, lamb, poultry, and even eggs!

  • Reply
    Ashley
    April 28, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    Now you really got me looking for good farms. I came across this website directory, eatwild.com. Hope this will help!

  • Reply
    Lydia McD
    November 28, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    Great post! I also know Emile though this is the first time I’ve visited his farm, albeit virtually. I can vouch for Caw Caw Creek pork being incredible. I also remember reading the same thing in Nourishing Traditions mentioned above, though don’t have the book on hand to figure it out. I’ve even talked to Emile about that same thing when he was handing me several pounds of pig fat last winter, ha. I can’t say I eat pork enough to worry about the effects on my blood, though of course I do wonder.

    Also, Ashley, I read JS Foer’s book “Eating Animals” last year (incredible and difficult), and Niman Ranch is mentioned in there on a few occasions. They apparently decided several years ago to prioritize the bottom line and the original founder of the company finally left because of it. Their principals are mostly out the door, in other words, and they only keep up their standards just enough to continue to hold on to their reputation as better than the factory farms. I think all meat eaters should read that book, by the way.

    • Reply
      megan keatley
      December 5, 2011 at 1:31 pm

      i have heard, as you said, it’s a difficult (emotional) read, but i’ve definitely got that book on my short list.

  • Reply
    Jennifer
    March 27, 2013 at 8:55 am

    Pastured Pork is by far my favourite protein source too. Love!

    PS – Love your site! My new go-to for recipes.

    Keep up the great work!!!

    Cheers!

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