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edible Monterey Bay Winter 2016

28 edible MONTEREY BAY WINTER 2016 e Kimmichs ended up purchasing two Californian gilts (sows that haven’t yet had babies), and a boar from a different bloodline in Arizona. e herd grew quickly, and so did the idea that the pig project could become the family’s livelihood. “We wanted to build a community,” Jack says. “We wanted to share the most delicious and clean pork we’ve ever tasted with a customer base that shared our same ideas about food and health.” ere is a crucial link between a pig’s diet and the quality and flavor of the pork it produces. e Kimmichs allow their pigs to roam freely on their farm’s woodlands (the natural habitat for pigs) and pastures, enabling the animals to forage for all sorts of plants as well as soil and grubs. ey are never fed hormones, antibiotics, corn or soy. Instead, the Kimmichs supplement their pigs’ diets with more healthy vegetable waste from local farms and spent grain from local breweries and distilleries. An heirloom organic farm next door provides the bulk of the pigs’ vegetable feed. “Our pigs eat seasonally! Walnuts in the fall, squash and pumpkins in the winter! ey just finished asparagus and apricots,” Jack exclaimed with amusement last July. “ey’ll eat the fruit and then come back later to finish off the pits!” is kind of care is about as far as you can get from the cramped, unsanitary conditions and abysmal diets that pigs are typically subjected to at the factory farms that produce most of the pork consumed in the United States, and chefs from Big Sur to San Francisco have taken notice. “I love the flavor of the fat. It’s just so much tastier than commercial pork because the diet of their pigs is so much more varied,” says Jonathan Roberts, aka the PigWizard, a local charcuterie maker, referring to the Kimmichs’ products. “I use their pigs exclusively for pig roasts, and they are always delicious.” e entire Kimmich farm is off the grid—a decision that Sara describes as an “environmental as well as a sensible economic decision.” A windmill pumps the farm’s water and a spring-fed waterway runs through the property for the pigs to enjoy. Due to the ongoing drought, Jack often trucks in clean water to manually fill the waterway. “e drought is one of the hardest things the pigs have had to endure because the pastures aren’t irrigated yet,” he explains. In addition to whole foods and fresh water, the pigs of California Kurobuta are kept healthy and strong with the nutrient-rich compost Jack makes at the farm. “We used to have our big compost piles fenced off from the pigs, and they used to endure the zap of the electric fence to break through and root in the mounds,” Jack recounts. Now he trucks in wood chip bedding each summer to make compost piles around the farm, and the pigs will spend the next year furrowing and grazing until the piles have been spread and Jack can plant a cover crop that will then become more feed. He believes that the beneficial bacteria in the compost are the biggest aid to keeping his pigs disease free. ere have been no instances of mastitis in the sows, for example, and roaming chickens clean up the rare sightings of intestinal worms. “People believe pigs can live in any conditions,” Jack explains. “But happy pigs constantly need a lot of care and attention. And keeping the pigs happy is our main concern.”


edible Monterey Bay Winter 2016
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