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Want To Raise Wooly Pigs?

by 5m Editor
26 September 2007, at 1:45pm

SEATTLE - Heath Putnam had one wish: To be able to eat the same quality of food he had enjoyed while he lived and worked as a software engineer in Europe. In particular, he sought a comparable quality of pork that possessed the full-flavor and marbling he had experienced abroad.

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The Wooly Pig is a lard-type breed that has dark, juicy and richly marbled meat, the quality of which is unparalleled in the United States.

Frustrated by the lack of product, Putnam decided to import a Central-European breed he had come to know in his travels: the Mangalitsa or Wollschwein, which also is known as the Wooly Pig.

The Wooly Pig is a lard-type breed that has dark, juicy and richly marbled meat, the quality of which is unparalleled in the United States. Other breeds, including heritage types (Berkshire, Duroc, Poland China), are raised for efficiency and yield lean meat.

In Central Europe, the laid-back Mangalitsa, which are direct descendents of the wild boar, are raised with patience on pasture or forage and with a mind toward optimal flavor. They are finished on barley, rye, hay and/or peas to achieve the lightest and highest-quality fat. Depending on whether the pigs are used for fresh market or cured, the growing time ranges from 9 to 24 months.

Putnam, who currently is the exclusive importer of the Mangalitsa, is working with Gary and So Angell, owners of Rocky Ridge Ranch, 30 miles west of Spokane, Washington. The team plans to raise the herd of Wooly Pigs based on the European model in order to attain the best flavor. The first batch of purebred Mangalitsas will be available in summer 2008.

5m Editor