The early reviews have been promising. Two years after his operation began, his pig won a heritage pork culinary contest in 2010, Cochon 555 in San Francisco.
“It was great meat,” said Staffan Terje, the chef and owner of Perbacco in San Francisco, who prepared Mr. Blake’s pig for the competition.
“It was rich in flavor and well-marbled,” said Michael Anthony, the executive chef at Gramercy Tavern in New York, who cooked dishes for his restaurant with an Iowa Swabian Hall.
They are floppy-eared with black fur, broad jowls, a thick rump, creased foreheads, and long bodies and snouts. When butchered, they have a broad slab of ivory fat to go with deep red meat, the antithesis of the “other white meat” craze when the pork industry moved toward leaner hogs.
Despite some setbacks, Blake is planning making a big push in the next few months:
By March, he said, he hopes to have about 50 of his Swabians market-ready — he sells them for $3.75 to $4.50 per pound. Within the next seven months, he said, he hopes to have enough pigs to begin selling them weekly. In the meantime, he is supporting himself by selling bacon, beef sticks, novelties like bacon floss and bandages, and roasting pigs for special events.
But Mr. Blake is never quite satisfied. He speaks giddily of the hydroponic chambers (not “hippie hydroponics,” he says) he uses to make barley to feed his pigs, and of a “super pig” he is breeding — one with the tasty qualities of the Swabian that can be raised at the speed of commercial pigs. For now, he is not saying much more than that.
“I think we’re on the verge of something,” he said.
[H/T: New York Times]