Friday, May 09, 2008

To Market To Market to Buy A Fat Pig

We have been busy around here the last few days. I spent one whole afternoon cleaning out our deep freezer and spare refrigerator that are located in Michael's shop. I learned a very valuable lesson during this process. (I will share my ignorance with you in order to perhaps save somebody the trouble that I just endured). Last year when I put away our corn in quart freezer bags, I must have been in a hurry. I knew that you are suppose to let bags of corn or anything for that matter cool down before putting them in the freezer. I guess I thought they were cool enough so I plopped my 60 quart bags of frozen corn in the freezer. When I went to clean the freezer, the bottom was lined with quart bags of corn that had frozen to the bottom of the freezer and to each other. Apparently this is one reason that you should cool down bags sufficiently before placing in the freezer. Who knew?? Not me obviously. It took us forever to get those bags of corn off the bottom of the freezer. We poured hot water on them. We used a bar and tried to pry them apart. We poured more hot water. We waited. We didn't want to wait too long because we didn't want the corn at the top of the bags to thaw too much. We just needed the corn to thaw off the bottom. We finally did get that mess cleaned up, and I am happy to report that we were able to save 35 out of 37 quart bags of corn. We also learned a great freezer lesson.

After getting the freezer in tip top shape, Michael went and picked up our 3 pigs from the butcher. We sold one of the pigs to a friend at cost. He called the other evening and told us that he had just eaten the best pork chop of his life. It came from the pig that we sold him. (I am thinking that this may be a good way to make some farm money. Raise pigs and sell them to people for a profit. My only concern is that until our name got out there for producing good pork, we would get stuck with more pigs than we know what to do with. I guess we could take orders ahead of time...just a thought).

Michael did our final cost summary. To produce our own pork cost us $2.09 per pound. This price included purchase of baby pig ($35 per pig), feed to raise the pig ($120), and fee to slaughter the pig. I was a bit disappointed that it still cost us over $2 per pound. We raised pigs 6 years ago and it cost us about $1.40 per pound then.

We know there are several ways to get the cost down. We could buy a sow to raise our own babies. I don't know if that would be worth the trouble and expense of keeping her unless we were raising enough to sell. We all know a momma pig needs a daddy pig so that would be another expense. We did find a farm that sells feed in large quantities so we were able to cut our cost there compared to the prebagged corn. The biggest cost cutter would be to slaughter the pigs ourselves. (Well, I don't mean ME in that statement. I would probably head off the farm for several days until it was done)! We just aren't set up for that, and when dealing with meat we want to know for sure that it is done properly. So I guess for now knowing that our meat wasn't raised with hormones, antibiotics, and other nasty things is worth paying $2.09 a pound for. I know that it is still cheaper than purchasing it in the grocery store.

Just out of curiosity, please leave a comment and let me know what you'all are paying for your pork per pound at your local grocery store.

grace and peace,
julie

5 comments:

Amy said...

I (unfortunately) can't help you with the price of pork here. We have been purchasing the bulk of our food from Angel Food Ministries; so I don't know what it costs per pound here. We get so much meat in our orders that we haven't bought any meat from the grocery store in a long time.
I'll take a look though the next time we go to the store and I'll let you know.:)

Good advice, by the way, about the freezer situation.:)

God Bless,
Amy:)

Haymaker said...

The big integrated processors are liquidating their sow herds, so prices are depressed. I just bought a whole loin for $0.99 per pound, but that is very unusually low. $2 per is average, I'd say.

I'd add that there's a growing market for relatively natural and humanely raised pork.

nera said...

nice

Dreamer said...

Julie,

You should look at Sugar Mountain Farm blog for ideas on raising and selling pigs. Walter Jeffries and his family live on a farm in VT, I think and he always has great posts on farm life and the realities of raising pigs. He also takes the time to thoughtfully respond to those asking advice.

Dreamer

TnFullQuiver said...

Dreamer,
I have visited Walter Jeffries sight in the past. He is the one that got my wheels a turning. I need to go there again. Thanks for reminding me!

Nera,
Thank you!!!

Haymaker,
I keep forgetting to look at the price of pork at our local store. Thanks for sharing your great deal with us! I did read about decreasing the hog herd which brought prices down for now. They are expecting them to go up quite a lot in the future. With a decrease in sows, there will eventually be a shortage in piglets. We all understand the law of supply and demand.

Amy,
Thanks for trying! I think that is a wonderful way to buy food.

grace and peace,
julie