As a food writer, and blogger, Kathleen Bauer prefers to write from first-hand experience. The idea came to her after responding to an offer from a farmer to purchase half a pastured pig. After agreeing to the purchase from Clare Carver of Big Table Farm, Bauer thought, what if she became involved in the whole farm to table process while the pig was still alive?
She would tag along with Carver on her farm as she cared-for the two pastured pigs (Roger and Don), and help with their care.
She also wanted to witness their slaughter, not sure how she might react once a bond had formed with Roger. Afterward, the 300-pound pig would be delivered as a whole carcass to Melinda Casady's Portland's Culinary Workshop Studio where Bauer would learn how to efficiently carve up the carcass into recognizable cuts of meat.
The culmination would be a dinner Bauer and her husband hosted to honor the life of Roger the pig, and to thank those who were involved in the project.
While there are a number of legitimate reasons sustainable food advocates argue for the benefits of diversified, small-scale, less chemical intensive, farming practices -- in contrast to large-scale, industrial farming -- the crops and livestock products happen to taste better, and arguably are healthier to eat.
Pastured pigs not raised under factory confinement are allowed to live as pigs naturally wish to live. Pigs are widely considered to be intelligent creatures that are curious and like to explore, chew on straw, and graze and root in pastures. They are social creatures. The breed of a pig, being pasture raised, and being humanely slaughtered -- these are important factors in producing a noticeable quality of flavor and tenderness in the final meat product.