When Pigs Fly

Slow Films

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It would be difficult to find two more unlikely pig farmers than Jen Small and Mike Yezzi. But if the opinions of their fans from the New York City Greenmarket and many well-known city chefs count for anything, Flying Pigs Farm is doing just fine.

Like a lot of small farmers, the Small-Yezzis backed into the business. When they were in graduate school, an old farmstead that Jen cared about was sold to a developer. They didn’t want the special habitat to be destroyed, so they bought it from the developer. Many other farmers have told us the same story: they started small, with little capital, made some mistakes along the way and built their farm into something special.

The breeds they raise are Large Blacks, Gloucestershire Old Spots and Tamworths. These are rare and old breeds. Raising them for meat creates a market for them, which in turn guarantees the breeds survive.

And that axiom is being proven at Flying Pigs Farm every day.

In 2000, their first year, they finished three pigs and in 2011 that number increased to 700. There must be something in the air, pasture and water up there in the Battenkill River Valley because their chicken operation has rocketed off as well.

The high quality of Flying Pigs Farm pork, chicken and eggs and the farm’s sustainable methods have been recognized in such publications as Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, Oprah’s “O”, the New York Times, GQ, Gourmet, the Wall Street Journal, New York Magazine, and many more. These Flying Pigs get around!

The secret to their success isn’t a secret at all. Rare heritage breed pigs raised in a humane way, on open pasture and woods, supplied with clean food and spring water, and a low stress daily life produces meat far superior to most.

Not only are Jen and Mike producing a great product, they are preserving these rare breeds of our porcine friends.

Have you tasted a heritage pork breed? Did you think it tasted very different from conventional pork?

Photo Credit: Slow Films