Monday, August 1, 2011
Like much of the country, especially the Midwest, we're in the midst of a lengthy heat wave. In spite of the heat, Shane and I have been planning for winter (and beyond actually).
We've wanted to buy a whole hog for some time, but in the past, we couldn't get everything to fall into place. The price needed to be right, the money needed to be on hand, and timing was crucial. This year, all the pieces lined up and fell right together.
Yesterday we were scouring the craigslist ads for our area and found a nearby farmer selling a couple of butcher hogs. We'll be buying one from him this week. It's already scheduled to go to the butcher tomorrow, and the fresh meat will be ready by Friday. Or we can (and probably will) wait a couple of weeks to pick all of the meat up when the smoked cuts are done. I'll also be asking for some of the fat to render quality, non-hydrogenated lard (unless they will render it for me there) and some of the organ meats for making homemade food for our cats.
We usually won't pay more than $2 a pound for pork in the grocery store, which limits the cuts we can buy to what typically goes on sale here. For us, it's usually whole pork loin or loin chops, country ribs, pork butt roast and breakfast sausage and ham around the winter holidays. With the purchase this whole hog, we'll get all of the cuts, including bacon, tenderloin, hams and ribs, for about $2.86 a pound. That's an estimate, of course; we won't know exactly how much meat we'll get until the processing is done. The pork will be from a hog that is hormone- and antibiotic-free, and raised in a large pen instead of in feedlot confinement. I think we're making a pretty good deal. The amount of pork we'll get will probably last more than a year, as long as it's wrapped and frozen properly.
In addition to the pork, Shane hopes to get more red meat for the freezer this fall. Having venison in our freezer this past year has saved a lot on our grocery bill since we haven't had to buy beef. We all love the meat -- even Kat -- and look forward to stocking the freezer with it again this year. In addition, venison is generally considered a healthier meat choice than beef.
With pork and venison in the freezer, along with strawberries we picked earlier this summer and produce from our garden, we'll be fairly well set for the coming winter and beyond.
What, if anything, have you been doing to plan for your winter food stores? Is it something you think about ahead of time, or do you wait until you need food to buy it?
Posted by Annie Jones at 7:45 AM