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.