Although Your Freshest Food doesn’t sell meat, I still find it very interesting the unique ways that farmers use to raise their livestock. I’ve ran into Albert at Pereira Pastures Dairy in Abernanthy, TX, where his cows appear to be the happiest cows that I’ve ever seen. I’ve ran into Joshua in Oklahoma City, who has a small urban farm where he raises pigs, or Poki Piotten in Santa Fe, NM at Gaia Gardens, another urban farm, where he has a permaculture system where he raises chickens and ducks as well as acres of vegetables without creating waste. But the one that captured my imagination most was Michele in Santa Sofia in the province of Calabria, Italy.
It was happenstance that I ended up staying at his house, as part of an “Agriturismo” network in Italy that works similar to Airbnb. I ran into him over breakfast and began talking. He is 24, or 25, and began his business a few years ago.
“ho iniziato per scherzo stavo cercando un modo per utilizzare lo scarto di lavorazione di un altra azienda che abbiamo che si occupa della lavorazione delle mandorle io volevo riutilizzare le pellicine delle mandorle come mangime per gli animali e da li i primi 4 maiali poi il resto e venuto da se”
“I started [the farm] as a joke. I was looking for a way to use the waste from the waste processing company that we have that deals with the processing of almonds. I wanted to reuse the cuticle of almonds as animal feed, and from there the first 4 pigs and then the rest came from it.”
Michele is interested in reusing waste wherever it comes from. It is a growing practice among small and medium farms to use waste as compost or animal feed, but not many farms have taken it to he extent that Michele has. Now that Michele has more pigs he’s expanded from just the cuticle of almonds.
Michele is not using land that could otherwise be used for crops, instead he has a contract with the government to use the protected forest. He simply fenced off the portion of the forest he has been allotted with a fencing that hinders the movement of swain, but not other wild animals. He says the pigs do minimal damage to the natural environment since these pigs are native to the area and the forests.
“I have a disposal contract with a company in food processing for their produce waste from zucchini ,eggplant, potatoes, pasta and other vegetables and frozen produce. I take care to dispose of their waste products out there [in the forest where his pigs are at].” He then pointed to a white truck outside and said his pigs are able to eat an entire truckload of waste.
Michele is one of many farmers in Italy working with the government on bringing the black pig back from the edge of extinction.
“questa razza di suino fino a 6 anni fa era quasi estinta, poi e stato intrapreso un percorso di recupero anche grazie allo stato italiano, ora ci sono piu o meno 10000 capi il salame di questo suino e molto richiesto, figurati che non riusciamo a soddisfare tutti gli ordini
“this breed of pigs was almost extinct six years ago, and is now embarked on a path to recovery thanks to the Italian state. There are now more or less 10000 heads of this pig and with the great demand we cannot meet all orders.”
This kind of pig is known as the Black Hog of Calabria. It is native to the area, and almost went extinct in this area. There are now many farmers, and conservationists in the area working, and succeeding, in saving The Black Hog of Calabria.
And most importantly, the salami made from these pig tastes better than the average salami (leave it to the Italians…).
“il sapore di questa carne e superiore rispetto al suino normale, poi ce il fatto che viene cresciuto libero e questo potenzia la carne di sapore”
“the flavor of this meat and higher than the normal pig, then the fact that there is grown free and this enhances the meat flavor”
Thank you to Michele for assisting in bringing a species back from the edge of extinction, reusing food waste to create more food, while not furthering deforestation for you farm and bringing more delicious salami to the market.
Infograh is from National Geographic