Pork Cut Sheet FAQ

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Pork Cut Sheet

Pork Cut Sheet FAQ and Explanations

This sheet is intended to accompany the cut sheet that you can fill out with your order and get back to us. We will take that order with us to the butcher and relay the information. The cut sheet is nearly identical to the butchers in order to make mistakes as minimal as possible.

To start off, the hog is broken down roughly into 5 basic primal cuts. These are: The loins, ribs, hams, shoulder, and belly. Out of these areas you get a variety of cuts. Sausages are made from scraps and other sections of the hogs. We will go through each section below.

Loins

From the loin we get pork chops, boneless pork chops, loin, and or tenderloin. There are several cuts here depending on what you want. Because several cuts share the same pieces of meat and/or bone, you can’t have everything. For example, if you want pork chops then that means the tenderloin is part of the chop. You can’t have pork chops AND tenderloin as they are the same piece of meat, just prepared differently.

Common combinations from the loin:

  1. Bone in pork chops. This will leave you with a nice loin roast and butt roast from the tail end of the loin. The tenderloin lies under the loin is is part of the chops. These roasts tend to be in the 3lb range for our hogs.
  1. Boneless pork chops and baby back ribs. (The bone in baby back ribs is part of the same bone on bone in pork chops)
  1. Whole or cut tenderloin roast and baby back ribs.

If you had something special in mind send us an email or call. The butchers can probably do it(such as center cut ribs roast, or canadian bacon, etc) but we’ll have to check with them to see what you won’t be getting. It’s all tradeoffs when you’ve only got so much meat to work with. 🙂 We personally go with #1 for the abundance of meals with bone in chops. Delicious!

Ribs

Spare ribs are the most common cut here. They grill up amazingly on the grill and are an excellent summer treat.

The country style ribs aren’t actually a rib, but we placed them here. They are actually more like a steak. The cut comes from the front of the loin where it meets the front shoulder. The often have a small bone, but lots of meat. Since it’s so close to the shoulder they also tend to have more fat and marbling than other cuts. They cook well on the grill, broiled in the oven, or fried.

Shoulder

By far one of the best cuts on the hog. Also known as Boston butt and Picnic shoulder. You can do a couple things here.

  1. Get one large roast for a big party. 7-9lbs
  2. Get the shoulder split into half for two smaller roasts. 3-4 lb roasts.
  3. Get the shoulder made into blade steaks.
  4. Turn the shoulder into sausage

You can get the shoulder fresh or smoked. Fresh is good if you plan to cure and smoke it yourself. If not, we recommend getting it smoked. It’ll help lock in the ,moisture when you’re cooking, and provide a bit of subtle smoky barbecue flavor to it.

We also highly, highly, highly recommend the two small roasts. They are absolutely phenomenal on the grill or even in the oven. One of the best cuts on the entire animal.  Plus, with two small roasts you can try one as is, and have another to experiment with sauces or seasonings.

Hams

The ham is very similar to the front shoulder.

  1. Get one large roast for a big party. 7-13lbs
  2. Get the ham split into half for two smaller roasts. 3-7 lb roasts.
  3. Get the shoulder made into Ham steaks.
  4. Turn the shoulder into sausage
  5. Combo! Make ham steaks from the meaty center section of the ham, and leave the ends of the ham in tact as small ham butt roasts. (3-4lb roasts)

Almost always we go with #5. We love ham steaks. They make a quick and easy meal on busy days. Plus, we’re able to get a couple small ham butts for nice dinners or barbecues when we have company over.

As with the shoulder, we strongly recommend getting them smoked if you’re not going to do it yourself. Non smoked cuts tend to dry out much more during cooking and do not retain the same level of tenderness.

Belly

From the belly comes our bacon. If you don’t want bacon you can always turn it into sausage. If you do want bacon, it should be smoked for the ultimate in fine pork dining. We just need to know how thick you would like it sliced, and how many lbs per package. Most packages in stores and farmers markets are 1 pound.

Sausage

Everything that isn’t made into delicious cuts is made into ground sausage. Actually, if you wanted to turn the entire hog into sausage you could certainly do that. Anything that you don’t really want could be turned into sausage.

Most side of pork have enough meat to make two batches(or flavors) or ground sausage. Occasionally on small hogs there is only enough meat for one flavor. The butchers require at least 25 lbs to mix the spices up in the proper ratios. Larger hogs we generally always get a choice of two flavors.

You can have just plain ground pork as well if you’d like some versatility in adding your own seasoning depending on the dish. Ground pork is great when cut with beef to make meatloaf, burgers, meatballs etc. Most common packages are in 1 pound.

Oddballs

The left over parts which will come with everything will be Fatback, leaf lard, sliced heart, and sliced liver.

The Fat back is great for rendering down and making suet blocks for the birds, making cured fatback, or adding to beans other cooking dishes.

Leaf lard is the classic source of cooking lard for pies and pastries.

Let us know if you have any questions or need anything at all clarified. Thank you!

Pork Cut Sheets

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Loin

_______Chops (How Thick)__________ Chops per package___________

_______Roasts(Loin and Butt) How many pounds?

_______Boneless Chops ____________Tenderloin(Whole or cut) ___________Baby Back Ribs

Ribs

_______Country Style SpareRibs (Yes or No)

_______Spare Ribs (Yes or No)

Shoulder

________1 large Roast, 2 small Roasts, Steaks, or Sausage. (Choose one)

________Smoked(Yes or No)________Weight on Roasts(Prefered weight)

Hams

_______Whole, Split, Ham Steaks, or Combo. (Combo is Ham center sections, and leaving the ends as small ham roasts)

________Smoked?________Thickness of Ham Steaks?

________Approximate prefered weights of Ham Roasts

Belly

________Bacon(Yes or No)________Smoked?

________Sliced? How Thick? (Slab Style, Medium, Thin) _______Lbs per package?

Sausage

_______Weight per package

Flavors(Choose two)

-Ground Pork(No Seasoning), Breakfast, Maple, Hot Italian, Sweet Italian, Garlic, Chorizo, Apple Spice

Loin

_______Chops (How Thick)__________ Chops per package___________

_______Roasts(Loin and Butt) How many pounds?

_______Boneless Chops ____________Tenderloin(Whole or cut) ___________Baby Back Ribs

Ribs

_______Country Style SpareRibs (Yes or No)

_______Spare Ribs (Yes or No)

Shoulder

________1 large Roast, 2 small Roasts, Steaks, or Sausage. (Choose one)

________Smoked(Yes or No)________Weight on Roasts(Prefered weight)

Hams

_______Whole, Split, Ham Steaks, or Combo. (Combo is Ham center sections, and leaving the ends as small ham roasts)

________Smoked?________Thickness of Ham Steaks?

________Approximate prefered weights of Ham Roasts

Belly

________Bacon(Yes or No)________Smoked?

________Sliced? How Thick? (Slab Style, Medium, Thin) _______Lbs per package?

Sausage

_______Weight per package

Flavors(Choose two)

-Ground Pork(No Seasoning), Breakfast, Maple, Hot Italian, Sweet Italian, Garlic, Chorizo, Apple Spice

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Heritage Farm Pork Sampler!

Heritage Farm Pork Sampler is here!

Heritage Farm Maine Pork Sampler

This is a delicious assortment of the finest cuts of pork from our farm! If your looking for a super easy way to sample some of the finest cuts of pork we have available then this selection is for you. Not only is it great cuts, but we give a great discount for buying in bulk. It helps us out a lot, and gives you a great chance to try some cuts you may not have in the past.

You get four different cuts of meat to choose from.

  1. 1 pkg of Bacon or chops
  2. 1 pkg ofGround Sausage of your choice. There is: Maple, Breakfast, Garlic, Sweet Italian, and Unseasoned ground pork
  3. 1 pkg of Spareribs or Country Style. Spareribs tend to be great on the barbecue, while country style lends themselves well to a broil in the oven.
  4. 1 large roast weighing somewhere between 3-5lbs. Either loin roast, butt roast, or smoked roasts from ham or front shoulder. We will try to accommodate your choices on roasts, but sometimes we are limited by availability.

At $8/lb for everything it gives you a big savings over individual cuts and allows you to try some new things out. We will take your preferred choices and weigh everything out and have total ready for you. Pick up and payment is either at the farm by arrangement, or Fridays from 2-530 at the Hampden Farmers Market.

 

Thank you!

Pastured Poultry Feeders at Heritage Farm Maine

It seems like we have a variety of simple and easy looking feeders for our chicks and adult birds at Heritage Farm Maine. We like to experiment and play around with new ideas all the time. Often what we find is the simplest idea is always the best. It’s often easier to make things more complicated, but much more tough to make things simple. Here are the three common feeders we use regular on the farm.

First: DIY trough feeder for chicks. These feeder are made out of pic. They are the right height for new chicks that can not yet reach the lips of the larger feeders.

 

Second: Our bucket feeders. These things were thrown together one day in a hurry, but they have lasted for several years. They are super simple, surprisingly rugged, and work perfect. In the video below you can see just how they are built, as well as some modifications we had to make one day.

Three: The galvanized trough feeder for adult birds on pasture. These we actually purchased. As you can see though, they are a simple design, and rugged as can be. They hold plenty of feed to keep the birds happy. The tall side walls prevent feed spillage and waste which is always an important consideration on a farm.

There you have it. Three simple systems that we have found that work amazingly. If you have a feeder or feed system that works great for you, please share it with us in the comments below. We love to tinker and try new things!

Pastured Pig Electric Fencing Gates

Keeping the pigs inside the electric fencing is important. However, it’s not hard to do. All we need is something solid.

Pigs often have a reputation for being able to escape from anything. 99% of the time however they don’t try that hard to escape.

A simple wooden gate, tossed up with some metal poles and rope will be more than enough to keep pastured pigs contained.

Take a look at the video so you can see just how simple and easy our electric fencing gate systems are at Heritage Farm Maine.

If you have any questions leave them below in the comments and they will be answered.

Enjoy!

The Farm Hunt is Still On

 

Searching for a new farm is not as easy as it sounds. On several occasions I have come across nice pieces of property, only to find obstacles and setbacks. Since I have been able to use the land I’m renting on for the last several years I’ve been a little oblivious to the headaches of buying land.  Here’s a couple of the properties that we have looked at recently that haven’t worked out.

The Cabin

A beautiful log cabin right here in Winterport. 34 acres. A large beaver foliage. Big barn. Full basement. It was a pretty sweet deal. It was also within the price range, and the location was awesome. Not to mention the cabin itself was a home built design. I absolutely loved it. Two days before closing however, and the banks came back and said that they won’t offer Primary Mortgage Insurance. That meant at least 20% down payment would be needed to secure the loan. Anyone have an extra $30,000 I could borrow? Then, it turns out that no one want so to insure a home that’s a home built log cabin. Or if they do, our rates would be somewhere in the $3-4000/year range. Back to the drawing board.

The Cottage

There was a nice place in Plymouth that I had my eye on for several months. A nice range with three story barn, detached car garage, 25 acres, couple acres of fields, and a farm pond. For almost half as much as the last property! It was on the market over a year. As soon as the previous house fell through I went and checked it out on a Sunday. By Tuesday when I told my realtor about it, someone had already put an offer on it and it was off the market. Seriously?

The Neighbors Place

Back to the search. While investigating apparel of land up the road I met the sellers. They mentioned off hand that they would sell their house and 10 acres. The land was an amazing piece of fields and mature spruce, and only a quarter of a mile from where I farm now. I’d still have access to over 80 acres to lease. I went home to think about it a couple days before approaching them. I told them I’d take the property. A little shocked, they said they would call me back Friday. Weeks would go by. It became obvious they weren’t ready to sell, and didn’t expect me to buy.

The Newburgh Spot

Feeling a little frustrated I liked online once again. I couldn’t believe it. Right in Newburgh, a nice property with fields and mature oaks. A small ranch sitting on almost 5 acres, with an additional 14 for sale, at a super low price. It went on the market Friday, we had a showing Saturday, and had an offer in Sunday for the whole enchilada. The seller came back Monday and said they declined the offer, and had decided not to sell all the land after all. Talk about an up and down weekend.

 

So the search continues. I’m beginning to see why so many beginning farmers have trouble getting onto new land. Land acquisition is one of the hardest things new farmers faces. I never gave it much thought, but as I’m in the middle of trying to grow my operations I’m seeing how difficult and painful the process can be. Not to mention just simply exhausting. I’d much rather be working with the animals, my markets, and my customers than dumping time and energy into prospects that just fall through. Maybe today will be different. If you know of a good land deal in the area leave your suggestions in the comments below. Thanks!

 

How to keep pigs from escaping

How to keep pigs from escaping

 

Pigs have a bad reputation for escaping from where folks put them. They are an incredibly intelligent animal. Pigs are forever curious and will test, prod, and explore new things all the time. Poor designs in fencing are are like a hidden opportunity for adventure for a pig. Especially if they think the grass is greener on the other side. So how do you keep pigs from escaping? You build a better fence.

There are lots of options for fencing out there. Solid walls, pallets, reinforced wire hog panels, electric fencing, etc. In reality it doesn’t really matter what you use. It’s all personal choice. I have my own choices that I prefer when keeping pigs from escaping. First however you we need to be able to work with a few principles to make any fencing choice work.

 

  1. Give them more room than they need.

 

  1. Keep them well fed

 

  1. Keep the grass greener on the inside of the fence

 

A well fed animal, with plenty of room to explore, that has better conditions inside the fence than out, is less likely to push its luck trying to escape. Keeping happy and healthy animals is how you keep pigs from escaping the fence. Remove the motivation to escape, and you remove the surprise of finding your pigs in the neighbor’s flower bed. Remember, even the best laid fences will be overcome at some point by pigs. It’s in their nature to escape. By designing fencing systems that create a better life inside the fence than out, pigs escaping the fence can be reduced.

 

Next, Heritage Farm Maine discusses the various forms of fencing for pigs including what we use to keep pigs from escaping.

 

Changing Farms

As it stands right now, March 28, 2016, Heritage Farm Maine is in a bit of a standstill. Our farm is still working, and growing, and operating for sure. The problem we have is that this is only a temporary place. Our current farm is on rented land, and our contract is set to end this Spring/Summer.

What to do?

Well, we’ve been looking at several options. We recently found a nice cabin with barn and several acres, but it didn’t work out. It seems insurance companies really frown on homebuilt log cabins, and the insurance has nearly killed us. So, back to the drawing board.

As time goes on, I find that my farming style has become more and more guerrilla like. Not in the sense that I sneak around and run covert operations that people don’t know about. Rather, I tend to work on very light and movable operations. I’m able to set up and take things down relatively quickly, without sacrificing animal husbandry quality or the integrity of our food. It’s very portable, simple, and efficient.

There are times when storage, or areas to work out of the elements are nice. It’s a nice tradeoff though to monthly payments to a bank or nuisance company. That interest just always irks me.

So perhaps we’ll start looking for a place closer to town, and continue renting the unused land of our neighbors. While it may not be the most conventional way to raise our animals, it does represent an opportunity at the moment.

I’ll keep you posted as we move forward.

Learning about Electricity

Learning about Electricity

I strung the wire along the wall of the piglets barn. It was only one wall. The back one. Two large barn nails were used to affix two plastic insulators to the opposite ends of the wall. The electric fencing wire was strung between the two. At first, the young piglets couldn’t help but be in the way. They mouthed and chewed the wire with great curiosity. They have to check out everything, like little kids.

 

A pile of muffins was placed in the middle of the barn. This would distract the piglets long enough to get the wire energized and working without them in the way. They began munching away and contented themselves to the delicious treats. I, meanwhile, slipped outside and around the barn. The switch was flipped and the red light began blinking. The fence was now energized and hot.

 

I grabbed a bucket and went back into the barn. Flipping it over just inside the door I sat down on it and got comfortable. Shortly thereafter the muffins were gone. Just like young children, it was time to investigate things. One by one they slowly approached the back wall to reinvestigate the wire and knobs. Some would even touch it briefly. Not long enough to shock them though. The wait was short lived. Finally, a young female set her moist wet nose tight to the wire. The splintering crack from the arc of electricity was almost as loud as her squeal.

 

The silence had been broken. One by one the piglets became even more interested in the wire. I suspect they wondered what made their friends jump so hard. One by one they each become a little smarter, and a little stronger. One small step towards greater things.

Piglets in the barn heritage farm maine learning about electricity fencing

Piglets in the barn  doing piglets things

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