We have always dreamed of the day that we bring our first pigs home to our Forever Farm. While we were living in town, we would spend our free time researching and talking about how exactly we planned to utilize pigs on our hypothetical farm. (Our sacred Coffee Time routine was a prime candidate for daydreaming about the Forever Farm.) I can't tell you how many hours we've spent reading about and watching educational content regarding the use of pigs within regenerative agricultural systems, but I can tell you for sure that we have been doing all of these hours (months? years?) of prep work to ready ourselves for what is happening here on the farm on Sunday.
We are bringing our first batch of pigs home!
But they're just pigs, right? What could possibly be so great about pigs? Let me start off by making it abundantly clear that the function of the pigs themselves is just as important as, if not MORE important than, the end product. Properly managed pigs (read: rotationally grazed pigs) can be an incredible asset to a farm in relation to soil health. Pigs are artists when it comes to turning scrubby or mismanaged pasture into healthy, abundant fields that are perfect for multi-species grazing. On our farm, our entire upper pasture (pictured above) is old vineyard. The mature vines were ripped out years ago, giving the soil ample time to heal after years of conventional farming, but lots of rogue young grapevines remain, making it nearly impossible for us to use the land for anything at all. A few months ago, Ron found an old article from the 1920's that detailed how useful pigs can be for clearing land exactly like ours. Apparently pigs view young grapevines as a delicacy, which will prove incredibly useful for us!
Our vision for this upper pasture includes rotating the pigs around, encouraging them to mow back the mat of young grapevines, aerating and leveling and fertilizing the soil in the process. We have heard stories of pigs stirring up the native seed banks on regenerative farms around the country, prompting the resurgence of native field grasses that hadn't grown freely for years and years. We are so excited to watch this land transform and heal with the help of properly managed livestock.
I can't figure out if I'm more excited about raising these pigs or the freezer full of crazy-delicious pork that awaits us at the end of this leg of the journey! I'll be back early next week with some undoubtedly colorful stories that involve two rookie farmers bringing home their first group of legit livestock. Stay tuned and wish us luck!
All the best,