Choose the pig you want to eat
You’ll know exactly where your next meal came from in Mountain Farm’s new program
By Linda A. Thompson-Odum firstname.lastname@example.org
The popularity of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) has grown in recent years. The concept allows people to buy shares in a farm’s produce crops, which helps the farmer finance his enterprise. In return, the share holder gets a weekly box of fresh fruits and vegetables during the growing season. Now the idea has expanded beyond produce to include meats, dairy and seafood. And a new program at Mountain Farm in Sutton might even be called CSPig.
Owners Arthur Mountain and Jessica Blaney have started a Pick Your Own Pig program. The farm, which already sells pork, beef, chicken, turkey and eggs to the public from the Sutton location and at area farmers markets and stores, will now allow customers to purchase a pig that will be raised on the farm. In return, the customer will receive approximately 150 pound of all-natural pork.
“We had a few pigs and grew them for friends,” Blaney said. “So we decided to open it to the public.”
Customers will own a pig. Blaney and Mountain will raise the pig, which will be allowed to roam free on the farm and will be fed fresh vegetables and grain that is free of animal byproducts. When the animal is close to the proper butcher weight, customers will be allowed to select what cuts of meat they would prefer.
“It’s for people who can’t grow a pig themselves or who don’t want to do it,” Blaney said. “It’s also a good learning experience for children because we will send out e-mails and pictures to update them on the pig’s progress. And when the pig is butchered, you can get what cuts of meat you want.”
Mountain and Blaney have lived on the farm for four years. But neither grew up on a farm. Blaney fell in love with the lifestyle at a milking job she had while she got her conservation law enforcement degree at Unity College in Maine. Mountain worked as a logger, at a saw mill, and on a horse farm before he made the move to fulltime farmer.
The total cost to have Mountain Farm raise a pig is $844, which can be divided between friends and/or family members who would share the meat. The six monthly payments are $199 for the cost of the piglet and the first month, and $129 each for months two, three and four. Then customers pay another $129 when they pick up their fresh meats, such as sausages, pork chops, pork roasts, etc, and another $129 when they pick up the nitrate-free smoked meats — hams and bacon. If the weight of the finished cuts totals the projected estimate of 150 pounds, that comes to a cost of approximately $5.60 per pound for all-natural, farm-raised pork.
To enroll in the Pick Your Own Pig program, call the farm at 456-2739 or go to the Web site, mountainfarm.biz. In addition to the meats the farm already sells, Blaney said they soon plan to offer raw milk, duck eggs and duck meat. They are also considering the idea of a more traditional CSA. Last year they sold their products at the Henniker, Weare, and Warner farmers markets, and this year they plan to add more markets to their list.