Friday, July 11, 2014

Taking a Break

You may have noticed a dearth of posts lately. Well, we're taking a break, as much as one can with a farm to run. In the meantime, we've actually been quite busy. Read on to see some of what has been occupying our time these past few months.

There have been several farm tours, some of them quite good-sized groups. That's always fun for us and we often make contacts that keep in touch afterwards. We get quite a few customers that way as well. But the main purpose of the tours is to disseminate information about Natural Farming and tropical feed crops, and to give folks a chance to see it all in action.

We're waiting for Pinky to mature enough for breeding. She is from the third generation born at Hubbell's Hog Heaven. She has just come into heat again, so next time we will try to catch her on time and get her bred.

We've learned how to slaughter and butcher our own pigs so we no longer need to transport them to Hilo for that. There were two main reasons for us taking this step. One, it allows us to be sure we are getting back our own quality meat. And two, we can be sure the animal is not traumatized just before (or during) slaughter. They get to stay in their own familiar surroundings the entire time. Truly, it is more traumatic for us than for them! So, we have been reducing the herd by culling the older mama-sows and turning the remaining meat pigs into some of the most delicious, nutritious pork you have ever tasted.

Another thing that has been taking a lot of our energy and focus lately is the acquisition of a larger piece of land. This is going to allow us to expand into pastured beef, pork, and chickens. The land was once an old homestead and a banana plantation, but has been neglected for many years. We will be using cattle and pigs to help bring the land back into productivity and health. We plan on utilizing the mob grazing technique of Integrated Pasture Management while still incorporating Korean Natural Farming methods, this time in an open space rather than in an enclosed area. In our minds we can see this marriage of ideas working well, and we are willing to test our theories in the real world. It will be a little while yet before we can get the cattle - still working on perimeter fencing... then cross-fencing... then cattle.

Two more meat pigs to go... We'll be doing them in pretty soon. They sell for $5 a pound liveweight, and weigh about 300 pounds. Yes, we know it comes to a lot of money all at once, but for quality organic non-gmo pork, it's a bargain! And they are delicious!

We also sell roasts and stew meat for $7.50/lb, bulk breakfast sausage for $8/lb, cured and smoked bacon (very limited supply) for $9.50/lb. We have some other assorted bits for varying (lower) prices: big meaty soup bones ($3/lb), half heads, pigfeet, fat for rendering lard.

And, there's the other aspect of our farming business that's not usually mentioned here on the "Pig Blog": Liz's Happy Hens and the lovely organic non-gmo eggs they lay.

Honestly, there is never a dull moment on the farm, regardless of whether things get posted here or not!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Front Page!

A couple weeks ago we had a couple visitors to the farm who write for the Big Island Weekly, a local newspaper. They took lots of notes and a few photos... and well, here is the resulting article:

Nice, huh? We even made the cover, or rather our chickens did! The other woman mentioned in the article is a fellow longtime Natural Farmer in the area. We got some of our first sugarcane and bananas from them. If you are on-island, I encourage you to take Jackie's classes (mentioned in the article) - you will learn a lot and have some real hands-on experience to take back to your own farm or garden.

It's always nice to be noticed for the good we do, and even nicer that Natural Farming is catching on in a big way on the Big Island!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

In the Barn on a Rainy Day

It may have been a rainy day outside, but it was all nice and cozy in the piggery. 

We give the pigs lots of fresh-cut sugarcane each day.  They really look forward to their daily treat and squeal with delight and anticipation when they hear the wheelbarrow approach for their afternoon feeding.

Pigs are very good at chomping on the stalk and extracting the juice. 

For the younger pigs, we chop the cane into smaller pieces.  The leftover stringy bits, called bagass, become part of the bedding.  The microbes flourish on the leftover sugars in the bagass, breaking it down quickly.  A bonus for us: we don't have to refill the pens as often!

Meanwhile, outside, the plants grow quickly in the winter rains.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Update on Meat Pigs

Happy 2014!

We have three more meat pigs available, the last three for a long while.  They are about 200 pounds each now and ready to go at any time.  We can transport to Kulana in Hilo if you like, or you can come get them from our farm.  Same price and info as in the post below