I was always raised around farm animals, my father being a dairy farmer and crop grower, up in the Midwest in his younger years. We would go and work out on the cousin’s farms during the summer. When we moved to Florida we brought the horses that my mother loved. We always seemed to have a few chickens, rabbits and geese. My little sister had a 4H project that included a lamb and the littlest sister conned my dad into a baby pig that was listed on a sign going down the road. I have to say that was one of the funniest animals we had ever had on our little “farm”.
My husband, on the other hand, was more of the technological guy. He is good at fixing things (and that is good, since most of our equipment breaks at the most inconvenient times). Having never really ridden a horse before, he learned quickly! The chickens were just easy, but the pig was an education for both of us.
Once married, I brought my horses… now five, along to our 20 acres. He brought his skills. In 2015, we purchased a few chickens from the local farm auction and soon decided to try raising our own pork. We wanted to know what was going into our meat and the atmosphere that they lived in. We started out with a Yorkshire/Duroc mix and the Sow seemed to throw a little of every color. The meat was good, so we did some research as to which breed was considered to produce the best meat and had the best friendly temperament. We chose the Berkshire and found that it was a very fun-loving pig, that though they can get very large, acts like a lap dog. We then concentrated on what we were feeding them. I contacted a nutritionist from a company that produces vitamin/mineral packs for the pig feed and put together a special mix that would give them everything they needed, plus grains that would improve the flavor.
All our work finally came to fruition when we got the most amazing pork! The color is a dark red, the meat is tender and juicy and the marbling is absolutely beautiful.
But the story doesn’t end there…
We found, through word of mouth and our processors, that a farmer was going to retire that had put together another heritage breed that also produces amazing meat. We contacted Jim at Palmetto Creek Farm and spent many visits, talking about how he worked his farm and his beliefs and practices. We found that we both had a love for the animal and cared for their well-being which presented itself in the taste of the pork. Finding that he was looking to retire after 17 years, my husband and I decided to take on his farm and the processing plant and to continue both his breed and ours in the desire to bring Florida the best pork available. So we moved his pigs and processing center to our location in Groveland, Florida.
We are young in our knowledge, but determined and hard working. With the help of Jim,a veteran and all his knowledge, we hope to give everyone the ability to taste the best pork out there.