After power was restored on the farm this past weekend, I decided to indulge in a couple of feasts, which there is normally no time in the season in which to indulge. So, on Saturday, I pulled a pack of bacon as well as a ham steak from my freezer so that it could thaw out, and I could cook, then devour. My justification on such feasts was that after the earthquake that was followed by Hurricane Irene, constant rain was on its way from the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee. It has been a very rough year so far, and after the cold, cold spring, etc., weariness inevitably overwhelms me, realizing all of the effort put forth… which failed to a great degree to produce the intended crops, mostly as a result of those unpredictable extreme fluctuations in the weather. If the reader is not a farmer, this is difficult to comprehend, but nonetheless, in lieu of say, a weekend, or a weekend couple of hours off, I decided to take an hour vacation, TWICE!, in one day. The menu of that vacation consisted of bacon and ham!
On Sunday morning, I cooked up the bacon for a breakfast feast. Now to explain a little, this is not your ordinary bacon. That bacon originated from pigs raised on my neighbor’s farm. R&R Farm is the name, and Kirk and Jen Robertson are the farmers. But again, this is not your ordinary bacon. After frying up the bacon and making a couple of egg and bacon sandwiches, my palate was overwhelmed with sensual delight! It is absolutely amazing the taste difference between the big agriculture confinement pig source of bacon, and that which is naturally raised in friendly confines, that is, outdoors, in fresh air and… well, I’ll get back to the rest later. Oh what a feast started that day! All of the other chores of cleaning up the mess behind a storm that passed a week ago, and only having power restored hours ago, were assuaged by the feast of that unbelievably delicious bacon!
But that was the start. As dusk fell, I cooked the ham steak, along with some veggies left after the market. While the chard and beans, etc., were delicious, that ham steak was a culinary masterpiece! The flesh was so tender, and juicy, but beyond that, the flavor was… perfect! How to explain this? I am personally well versed in the consumption of confinement-origin pig/ham, and that is why the taste difference struck me so startlingly. That ham steak from R&R Farm was the first one I had sampled from them, and I was simply dumbfounded by the intensity of the flavor. As weird as it may sound, the flavor was absolutely… natural! Again, I do not have the words to describe how delicious that feast was, but there was a sense of satiety, a fullness that my stomach and internal organs related that is not the same after consuming confinement ham. It may seem like I am overdoing my assessment of that pork, but I assure you that that is not the case. At every bite, you tend to pause, then think, “Damn, that is really, really good!” Then, you take another bite and the process is repeated!
So what is it that causes the pork raised on R&R Farm to taste so delicious? I have questioned that extensively. After witnessing a restaurant chef/owner experience the same delight over that pork, I have realized that there is something VERY special in how those pigs are raised. The ability to "move" must surely have a great deal to do with the texture of the meat, and the fresh air surely assists in the pig's health. But I suspect a lot of that pork flavor initiates from the food the pigs devour. How does the wise saying go? "You are what you eat." And what do they eat? To a great degree, the answer to that question can be found 1/2 mile away from R&R Farm, down the dirt portion of Hughes Shop Road to… Nev-R-Dun Farm! But allow me to elucidate… with pictures!
And so now you have been provided visual proof as to why R&R Farm's pork tastes so good. Once again, it is the manner in which those pigs "tear into" those greens that lets you know how good it is for them. Sometimes, after the last paddock has been fed, the first may already be finished eating all their greens! Nonetheless, I am going to assert that the statement, "You are what you eat", is extremely sagacious, and that it truly reflects why R&R Farm's pork tastes so good. Sometimes, when I take a bite of R&R ham, I can swear I taste...purslane!