September 27, 2007


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Meet your pig
Winrose Farm gives tomorrow’s pork chops a good life today
By Lisa Brown

We all want to know what’s in what we eat but the true free-range enthusiast can even find out what the animal they eat ate.

Bob Jennings, who raises free-range poultry and pork at Winrose Farm in Greenfield, said today’s consumers want to know that their meat is safe.

“I call it the alternate food movement ... people today are more aware of what is going on with food in this country and they want to know where the food is coming from,” Jennings said. “They want to make sure the food doesn’t have any antibiotics, hormones or steroids in it.”

That’s why Jennings is busy. Jennings raises pigs and chickens for people to buy.

“We raise animals the way the good lord intended them to be raised,” Jennings said. “They are raised on grains and grass and vegetation.”

In other words, the pigs and chickens are free-range animals; they’re not confined in dark crowded stalls.

“I view it that it is livestock that is being raised for the purpose of food,” Jennings said. “Why is it if it is being raised for human consumption that the animal shouldn’t have a humane and healthy life for its short stay on Earth?”

At Winrose Farm, animals are rotated through the pasture and the pigs are fed grain and vegetation.

“We don’t feed them junk, no table scraps, no garbage,” Jennings said. “There are operations that raise hogs and feed pigs garbage and go and get table scraps from all the restaurants. Why would you want to put that in your body?”

Jennings became a pig and chicken farmer almost out of necessity.

“We used to raise a couple of hogs a year and our own chickens and that is what started it,” Jennings said. “We got tired of buying meat from the supermarket — we didn’t want to buy adulterated food.”

No chemical fertilizers are used on the fields at the farm and all organic matter that is spread on the fields is matter generated at the farm. The animals are not given growth hormones, steroids or antibiotics. Jennings says pork raised on his farm has a different taste than what is found in most grocery stores.

“What is injected in the pork? It’s something to enhance the meat.... If it were worth a damn, why do they have to enhance it?” Jennings said. “Supermarket chicken tastes like sawdust. Pork is the same.”

Jennings takes pride in offering unpolluted food to the public from animals that have been closely monitored.

“We have our own breeding stock, we have a closed herd, we don’t bring in pigs from the outside of this farm,” Jennings said. “Any pork that I sell was born and raised on this farm ... it’s the only way to control disease.”

People who want to buy a pig sign up for the animal in advance. Jennings encourages his first customers to buy just a half of a pig or a quarter of a pig.

“Most people envision buying a whole hog and picking at it through the year. I say, ‘Don’t’,” Jennings said. “Pork doesn’t hold up in the freezer like other meats, so don’t buy any more than you plan to consume in a four-month time.”

When you place an order for a half or a quarter of a pig, you are put on a list to wait until a pig is ready. Jennings raises the hogs for about six months until they reach 160 to 180 pounds, on average. Once the animal is ready for slaughter, customers specify how they want their meat cut.

“It is all custom-cut to your specifications, cut and packaged the way you want, if you want one-inch pork chops or three to a package ... pork is versatile, we have customers who won’t do ham, they want it cut into other things,” Jennings said.

Buying a pig that has been raised free-range is more expensive than buying pork at the grocery store. Typically customers are charged about $2.60 per pound of hanging weight plus processing fees, slaughter fees and smoking fees if they want some of the meat smoked. Jennings said by the time the pork is delivered, it is costing the customer about $5 a pound.

“People that purchase from us are willing to pay more for it when they know where it came from and how it was raised,” Jennings said.

Before buying a portion of a hog, Jennings invites people out to Winrose Farm to see how he operates his business.

“When people come to our farm to buy our product they are so grateful for what we do, “ Jennings said. “When I go to Shaw’s, I don’t see anyone getting all excited at the meat counter.”

Winrose Farm poultry and pork is available at Concord Food Coop in Concord and at Earthward Natural Foods in Amherst. For more information on Winrose Farm visit or call 547-3390.

9/20/2007 In search of the right meat

9/20/2007 Vegan blogger branches out
9/13/2007 Get ready to eat
9/6/2007 Fifty years of fair
8/30/2007 The buzz about peach fuzz
8/23/2007 Enjoy the Caribbean, sans hurricanes
8/16/2007 Festival weekend
8/9/2007 Still time to scream
8/2/2007 Perfecting a pound of pasta
7/26/2007 Gourmet Concord?
7/19/2007 Tart treats of a New Hampshire summer
7/12/2007 Reintroducing ratatouille
7/5/2007 Time to hit the grill
6/28/2007 Peanutty dinner delight
6/21/2007 Spicy meat, grilled meat and saucy meat
6/14/2007 Holy Barbecue
6/07/2007 A wine for Red Sox
5/31/2007 Pinot noir romance
5/24/2007 Josh Logan eats (not before shows)
5/17/2007 Baklava, spanakopita and souvlaki — a.k.a. dinner
5/10/2007 Cremeland celebrates 60 years of burgers and shakes
5/3/2007 New eats in bloom
4/26/2007 Pho sure
4/19/2007 Cakes, cow-free
4/12/2007 Serving up the first square
4/5/2007 More than just a chocolate bunny
3/29/2007 New 'nuches
3/22/2007 A taste of genuine sweetness
3/15/2007 From homemade to home business
3/8/2007 Shop the farmers' market year round
3/1/2007 Feeding Mama Kicks
2/22/2007 Keepers of the vino
2/15/2007 Noodly comfort food
2/8/2007 The luxury of osso bucco
2/1/2007 Super platters for the Super Bowl
1/25/2007 It's a wrap
1/18/2007 The writing foodie
1/11/2007 Where the beef is, piled high and hot
1/04/2007 The healthy foodie
12/28/2006 The return of pasta and fall of the diet: the year in eats
12/21/2006 Organic on the ice
12/14/2006 French but not fussy
12/07/2006 Southeast U.S. culture, in sandwich form
11/30/2006 Bites of comfort with chips of happiness
11/23/2006 Cityside adds class to conveniece
11/16/2006 Easier-to-enjoy Thanksgiving feasts
11/9/2006 The new classic
10/26/2006 Whip up a quiche
10/19/2006 A new way to crepe
10/12/2006 Comfort food for blokes and birds
10/05/2006 Smaller crop but still red and delicious
09/28/2006 The crunchier, lighter, healthier wrap
09/21/2006 City bagels in suburbia
09/14/2006 Cracking the custard code
09/07/2006 Eat your way down the block
08/31/2006 New flavors for an old summer dish
08/24/2006 Way down south in Hollis
08/17/2006 Frappe vs. milkshake
08/10/2006 Enjoy the bluest month
08/03/2006 Death of Toro
07/27/2006 Vacation on a plate
07/20/2006 Hitting barbecue big time
07/13/2006 Relishing the raspberry
07/06/2006 Are your edible souveneirs kosher?
06/29/2006 Fish, upscale
06/22/2006 Sweet rosey taste of summer
06/15/2006 When to pull out the EVOO
06/08/2006 What can you grill?
06/01/2006 Taste of downtown Nashua
05/25/2006 Deulge at farms
05/18/2006 Adorable and delicious
05/11/2006 Rub down
05/04/2006 Pinot to go
04/27/2006 A bit Italian, a bit egg foo young
04/20/2006 Meatier than breakfast...
04/13/2006 Let yourself eat cake
04/06/2006 Fear not the Risotto
03/30/2006 Making Friday a fishy delight
03/23/2006 The Thin Mints are here
03/16/2006 Divining your personality from pizza
03/09/2006 Cooking up a big bowl of comfort
03/02/2006 Dumplings demystified
02/23/2006 Carbs and comfort all the way
02/16/2006 She sells sushi by the sea shore
2/09/2006 Biting into the burger with bling
02/02/2006 Forget formal dining, head to the bar
01/26/2006 Goodbye rooster, hello year of the dog
01/19/2006 The secret lives of chefs
01/12/2006 Cooking up a pot of delayed gratification
01/05/2006 A sunny Italian side dish
A year of eats

All-you-can-read guide to breakfast
A bagel by any other l
A picnic — it’s romance with ants
A sweet burst of summer, in stages
Beef, It's What's For Dinner, Lunch, And Dessert
Be it ever so humble, the burger rules
Blockbuster snacks for your movie
Box Of Chocolates
C Is For Cookie And Christmas And Cool Combo
Celebrating A Holiday For The Rest Of Us
Celebrate Easter In A Sugar Coma
Chat And Chew

Chinese soup is magic
Chocolate cake makes everything better
Chocolate, Part II
Competition flows like chocolate
Corn Flake Chicken, Honeycomb Salad
Dining at the "Your House Bistro"
Don't Dread The Bread
Dress Up Your Next Meal
Drinking Out Of The Box
Eating Your Way Back To Health
Enter Soup
Experiments With Very Bad Brownies
Feeding A Crowd The Morning After
Follow the cider house rules
Fresh Herbs
Go ahead — run silent, run deep
Goodbye corn syrup, hello organic oatmeal
Go Indian for Thanksgiving
Grilled Cheese Junkie

Halloween candy for grown-ups
Have a Happy Meal and a happier wallet
Holiday Cookies - The Easy Way
Holiday Potluck 101-Tips For The Kitchen Novice
Home-Based Date
How do you like them apples?
In-A-Pinch Love Feast
It's not easy to be cheesy
It’s not Christmas without tamales
Lest We Forget The Humble Squash
Keeping your cool while you eat
Living through your salad days

Looking Beyond The Hot Dog Stand
Lunching your way to a less toxic you
Meat's meat and a man's gotta eat

Moist and delicious chicken — no, really
Oatmeal Cookies, The Miracle Cure
Oscar Night, When The Stars Come Out To Eat

Offering Up A Slice Of Teriyaki Pie
Pot Pies Are Darn Tasty
Pumpkin-Flavored Treats
Small Plates Are The Next Big Thing
Speedy 'za not pie in the sky
Steak: it’s what’s for dinner, again
Summer coolers, just add sunlight
Summer Squash
Super Bowl Grub
Take A Walk On The Dark Side
Taste of Manchester Event
The Cosmopolitan
The joys of a simple oatmeal breakfast
The return of comfort food
The One-Note Cook Book
The New American Plate Cookbook
The Stickiest, Hottest & Sweetest Of Love's Labors
The taste of retro
The Unheralded Peanut Butter Cookies
The union of sweet and heat
The Weekly Dish (12-16-04)
The Weekly Dish (12-23-04)

The Weekly Dish [1-13-05]
There's a Barbecue Bonanza Next Door
Week Four: Adding Diet To The Mix
What Was Hot And Haute In 2004
When $$ trumps urge to dine out
When in doubt, go for the organic
When nothing else will cool, Slurp it
You Say Potato, She'll Say Potato,Too
You say tomato, writer says lunch