The Scablands are not Barren at Scabland Farm
Jill and Paul Knittel met while serving in the Navy, stationed at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. They got married, started a family and eventually moved to the Scablands of Eastern Washington when Paul got a job at a major hydroelectric supplier in the area. Five years ago they started raising heritage Large Black Hogs and have since begun to grow their business, Scabland Farms, producing pork that is NOT the "other white meat." This is a breed of hog developed in England during the 1800’s and was more commonly consumed prior to the Second World War.
Their dark skin allows them to be outside in the sun being less prone to sunburn. This pork is not washed out and flavorless like many people are accustomed to coming from the factory meat producers who have hybridized the animals to be not too bold in flavor and survive long enough in concrete enclosed buildings to become meat.
Heritage Large Black Hogs are animals who live outside and romp around in pastures and large pens except when they need the protection of a barn when they are young or during severe weather. The meat is red (not as dark as beef) but it does have color and flavor. Like an heirloom tomato, this is a return to what once was.
Jill and her daughter were kind enough to show me around their farm and let me know which hogs were safe to pet and which ones were not so receptive to human touch.
There were piglets and protective sows.
Jill said she always wanted to be a pig farmer, but it has its ups and downs. Nevertheless, to her, it beats life in suburbia. She still thinks pigs are cute and becomes attached to some of the piglets and even names some, but realizes she is in the pork business.
Raising pigs is hard work, but I am glad Jill and Paul are willing to do it, and that they come to the Wenatchee Valley Farmers Market so I don’t have go to Seattle to to taste their heritage pork!
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