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Long Meadow Ranch to Raise Heirloom Hogs

Posted by perle0 on 2006-06-27 16:15:13 (11376 views)

Yes, in honor of a program to preserve traditional hog breeds that are tasty and delicious--but not raised in today's factory farms--Long Meadow Ranch in Rutherford, CA, will be raising and breeding two Red Wattle hogs from piglets. This organic farm and winery will celebrate by participating in a benefit featuring tail-to-snout cuts of Red Wattle pork.

Long Meadow Ranch has agreed to house a pair of rare heirloom Red Wattle hogs for breeding purposes to help diversify the risk of maintaining the breed. Red Wattles, an endangered species along with numerous other farm animal breeds, are included in the Slow Food Ark of Taste program that seeks to save our economic, social and cultural heritage. The Ark of Taste mission is to preserve endangered tastes--and to celebrate them, by introducing them back to the world.

Two piglets, a boar and a gilt, have traveled from Missouri under the care of breeders Larry and Madonna Sorell as part of campaign to raise awareness about the need to preserve heritage farm breeds. The piglets will be presented to the Hall family on June 30th at a benefit ceremony hosted by the Napa Valley Slow Food Convivium and Heritage Foods USA at the Silverado Resort. The event will feature Red Wattle pork prepared by eight prominent Napa Valley chefs.

The piglets will be housed, raised and bred at Long Meadow Ranch with help from instructor Randy Mendes and students from the St. Helena High School FFA program.

The Red Wattle breed is a large, red hog with a fleshy wattle attached to each side of the neck. The wattles have no known function. The Red Wattle comes in a variety of shades of red and black, with mature animals weighing 600-800 pounds. Red Wattle hogs are known for their hardiness, foraging activity, and rapid growth rate. They produce lean meat notable for its flavor and tenderness.

Although they adapt to a wide range of climates, they have fallen from favor over the years as the rise of factory farming has increased. Most heirloom breeds of animal are not suitable for factory farming as they are, inherently, foragers, many are slower growers and, ultimately, reach smaller adult sizes. According to the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy (ALBC), fifteen different breeds of pigs were raised for market in the 1930s; today, six of them are extinct.

Much of pork’s popularity in history relied on their ability to provide large quantities of lard used for a broad scope of household purposes whereas Red Wattles are very lean. In fact, their meat is very high in healthy omega-3 fatty acids, contributing to their high demand today.

Although the origin and history of the Red Wattle breed is obscure, most historians believe they were brought to the United States from New Caledonia, a French Island in the South Pacific near Australia. They were known to be available in French New Orleans in the late 1700's. The pigs that endure today are descendents of wild herds discovered living in the wilds of eastern Texas hill country in the early 1970s.

LMR Co-owner Ted Hall said, "We are very excited to have these new residents at the Ranch. Just as our heirloom Highland cattle have prospered, as the heirloom fruits and vegetables at Rutherford Gardens have thrived, we look forward to the prospect of being a part of the re-introduction of this high-quality farm breed into the community."

The Napa Valley Slow Food Convivium and Heritage Foods USA will present LMR with the two Red Wattle pigs at a benefit event June 30, 6-10 PM at Silverado Resort. Tickets are $50 for Slow Food members and $60 for non-members. For more information or to buy tickets, go to:

Eight Napa Valley chefs have chosen portions of the Red Wattle for this celebratory event:
  • Greg Cole - Celedon / Cole's Chop House - Shoulder
  • Kimball Jones - The Carneros Inn - Country Ribs
  • Peter Halikas - n.v. - Heads and Tails
  • Nate Keller - Cafe 150 - Heart
  • Peter Pahk - The Silverado Resort - Trotters ( feet )
  • Ryan Jackson - Brix - Tougue - Tenderloin
  • Victor Scargle - Julia's Kitchen - Belly
  • Vincent Nattress - Meadowood Resort - Striploin

Buy tickets to the Red Wattle Benefit.


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