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Pork FAQs

So, can I come purchase packages of pork from you?

The short answer is no, it is not legal to sell un-inspected meat in the United States.  For example, I cannot take these pigs to the butcher (or butcher them myself), and then sell you the individual packages of meat unless I have taken it to a USDA certified facility.  There is such a facility on the border of West Virginia, but it is a long way away (which adds to stress to the animals), it costs more, and I do not personally believe you get any real value from it.

Since I cannot sell you meat, I am selling you livestock.  That is to say, you become the owner of your particular live pig (or half pig), at which point I will be simply caring for your pig on your behalf.  Thus, when the butcher comes to get the pig, he is doing so on your behalf, as the owner, and when everything is said and done, you will write two checks, one to me for the pig and one to the processor for the packaging.  This is the standard arrangement and happens thousands of times each season for those who want to purchase meat from local farmers “on the hoof.”

So what do I have to do to get some pork?

  1. Let us know by March 1st whether you want a whole or half pig
  2. Pay a deposit
  3. Fill out a cut sheet for the butcher, specifying what kind of cuts you want, how many pork chops per package, etc.
  4. Mail me a check once the butcher weights the pigs and I send you your total.
  5. Pickup your meat from the butcher within 5 days after he notifies you and pay him his processing fees.

What kind of things am I choosing from when it comes to cuts of pork?

You can expect to get a variety of items, depending on how much pig you have requested.  For example, since pork chops are really just sliced loin with the bone “in”, it is harder to have both loin and pork chops if you have half a pig.  But if you have a whole pig, you could specify loin from one half and chops from the other.  But do you want thick and juicy 2″ chops, or more economical 1″?  The options are literally endless, but the butcher is a big help and open to your questions.  Here are some types of cuts you can expect:

  • Boneless Pork Chops or Loin
  • Ground meat or Seasoned sausage (extra cost)
  • Roasts or Hams
  • Uncured Bacon (sliced or whole)
  • Ribs

Other options include:

  • Hocks
  • Liver
  • Heart
  • Tongue
  • Back Bone
  • Feet/Ears

How much meat can I expect from this pig, and what will it cost?

The pork is $1.85 per pound live weight, plus butcher’s fees. To help you visualize that, here is an example for you to consider:

A 300 lbs hog would cost $555 dollars to purchase from the farm.  The butcher charges $60 to kill and prepare for processing.  Once the pig has been killed, skinned, and head and organs removed, that is considered “hanging weight.”  The butcher will then charge $.45 per pound to cut, wrap, and freeze.  Hanging weight is roughly 72% of live weight, so in our example, 216 lbs at $.45/lb = $97.  So the total price for a 300 lb pig would be $555 + $60 + $97 = $712.  Each half would then be $356.

Roughly 58% of the live weight is “sale-able cuts,” or finished product, so a 300 lbs pig would produce approximately 174 lbs of packaged meat, or 87 lbs per half.  So to finish our math, $712 divided by 174 lbs equals roughly $4.09 per pound for everything from sausage to loin.

PLEASE NOTE: This is an example, using industry percentages, not pastured pigs.  Every pig is different, so you may get a little more or less than the percentages.  Of course we always hope for a little more, but in my personal experience, it is often a little less than a best case.  The more of the organ meats, leaf fat, etc., that you use, the greater your yield.  The old timers said you should use everything but the oink!

What butcher do you use?

We are currently using Harvey’s Meat Processing on Peppers Ferry Road, not far from the farm.  I have personally visited the facility, spoke with Harvey, and found it to be a professional setup and operation.  He has been very flexible, willing to order special sausage seasonings, save specified cuts, etc.  He allows 5 days to pick up the meat once notified.  Here is his most recent cut sheet:

Harvey’s Cut Sheet

Of course, this is your pig, so if you want it to go to another meat processor, you are free to pick it up and take it, have them pick it up, or work with me to arrange drop-off.

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