When I’m not working at Cricket Creek, one of the things I like to do best is visit other farms. I believe it is important to be constantly exposing myself to other systems, infrastructure, equipment, marketing strategies, etc. Not only is it important, but it is fun and incredibly interesting. Last week I went for the first time to East Mountain Farm, owned and operated by Kim Wells. Thinking back, I can’t quite believe that it took me this long to visit one of the very few other small farms right here in Williamstown, but I am glad I finally made it over there. I have had Kim’s pork and beef many times at Mezze Restaurant, and have always enjoyed it.
I should mention that what REALLY brought me to visit East Mountain, in addition to seeing all the great things that Kim does, was my hunt for bacon. At Cricket Creek our pork supply is quite limited, and we won’t have bacon again until next summer. East Mountain Farm (map here) is a great place to buy bacon from animals that you know were raised with care. Stop by his farm stand to check it out!
After I bought the bacon we went for a walk in the woods behind his barn. Kim keeps his pigs living in the woods year-round. We walked up a path into the woods until it opened to a big clearing. Then we started to hear the grunts and snorts of swine. To the left of the clearing was a large fenced in area scattered with hut shelters and roaming with pigs. They looked beautiful amongst the trees and wintery shrubs and brush.
I have personally never kept pigs in a wooded area, but I know that it is a common practice, and it was great to see it in a very organized, clean, and efficient set up. I can imagine it is so nice for the pigs to have the shade of the trees in the summer time. As Matthew pointed out, maintaining the electric fence lines in the woods seems easier than maintaining them on pasture in the summer time when the grass is quickly growing. The two pigs pictured here are Herefords, a rare breed that was developed in the 1920s to resemble Hereford cattle. We watched while they rooted around in the snow and sniffed each other’s butts. Theses two will probably be processed soon since they were in a separate fenced area with the livestock hauling trailer parked in it. It seems they are getting quite comfortable with the trailer since they had been walking up into it. This will make it easier to load them when they have to go to slaughter.
Thanks to Kim for raising some great meat. I am excited for all my future bacon consumption!