It is easy to discuss nutritional advantages of grass-fed beef, raw milk, chicken and eggs — the research on all of these are deep and wide. Pastured pork is not so. I have found nothing on the subject of the superiority of naturally raised pork except this — pigs finished on seasonal acorns, as they are in Spain and Italy, have fatty acid profiles that look just like olive oil. So that’s a good start. Let’s take it from there.
First, the old wood forest at JVF is loaded with oak trees. In a good acorn year, you can’t take a step without stepping on acorns. But there’s more. The other dominant tree is the native pecan. It is well-established that the pecan contains the most complex variety of oils of all of the nuts. The pecan falls like rain every year as well. Then, I read a study of nuts in general — it turns out that every nut, including the lowly peanut, contributes some quantity of healthy oils, regardless of type.. So from acorns to pecans to almonds, cashews, to peanuts and the rest, very good oils are available to enrich the heart-healthy nature of well grown pork. So how do we take advantage of this knowledge?
While we make free-choice grains available about 22 days of every month, it’s the other 10 days when the pigs are rooting for native grasses, sapling roots, dewberries, grapes, and wild plums. When our native grasses go to sleep, we broadcast winter grass seed, including rye, oats and clover. Then when we are finishing the pig for market, they also get fresh fruits and roasted peanuts.
Lastly, what they don’t have is as important — no drugs, no antibiotics, no hormones, no steroids.
In summary, fresh fruits and roasted nuts, along with the foods provided by nature and topped off with good grains give our pigs a wide variety of nutrients.
If flavor tells you anything about the nutritional value of any given food, and it does, you know you must be getting the best with JVF pork. It’s flavor still surprises us favorably after 10 years of eating. It simply raises the bar for the rest of the pork world and we have found no one who has hurled that bar. That’s a fact.