Pigs play an incredibly valuable role on the small diversified farm: the Gleaner. Nothing goes to waste on a farm or homestead that has pigs. Imperfect vegetables, root crops gone soft, pomace from pressing cider, even wasted hay…these are all relished by pigs. And when the farm involves dairying, the symbiosis is even more natural. There is always leftover milk, whey from cheesemaking, and unsold product, and pigs thrive on this otherwise unusable dairy.
We have a herd of American Guinea Hogs, which has been a dream of ours since beginning our farm here. This was a very rare breed that nearly went extinct, but recently has been exploding in popularity among homesteaders. They are naturally small pigs historically raised in the American south, but well suited to the North Country. They grow very slowly compared to standard breeds, and max out at 250-350lbs (compared to 500 to 800lb behemoth “regular” pigs). This allows those with a small land base and minimal infrastructure to easily raise several of these, even raising their own breeding stock (as we have).
Guinea Hogs are renowned for their friendliness, hardiness, and ability to forage most of what they need , given the land to do so. During the growing season, they often need no supplemental feed (!) if on pasture and/or woods. Another name for them historically has been “acorn eater.” We live on Oak Hill, aptly named, and give our hogs access to many acres of oak woods in fall. Perhaps this is the Maine version of the famed “acorn-finished” Iberian hams of Spain.
Did we mention this is perhaps the most phenomenal pork that you’ll ever taste? The meat is red to almost purple, looking more like beef steak, with lots of marbled fat, sweet and tender. Once you’ve tasted this meat you may be spoiled for life.
We generally have litters of piglets available in spring and fall. Whole or half hogs may be available at different times—be in touch if you are interested. We are passionate about promoting and preserving this fantastic breed of pig, and can talk all day about them. Let’s keep growing them!