Bubble’s piglets are thriving.
At a week and a half old, they’ve started to venture more bravely out and away from mama. They’ve starting rooting gently with their little snouts, nibbling grass, and even drinking a little of the water that trickles down from the stream near their enclosure.
Largely, however, they are within a few feet of Bubble, either nursing or napping all in a heap.
The funny thing about when they nurse is the Stack Factor.
When there are 12 teats and 11 piglets, there is a spot for everyone at mealtime. The piglets, however, do not realize that they have access to this information.
So they scramble and and jockey for position to ensure that they get some milk before all the spots are taken. There is significant squealing, nipping, and wrestling involved before everyone settles in for a snack.
When the dust settles, at least five piglets are being squashed under the six that have succeeded in scoring a “top” teat.
Which brings me to pig milk.
As a farmer and a food-service professional, I cannot help but look at Bubble’s teats, heavy with milk, and think, “I wonder what pig milk tastes like?”
And before you make THAT face; think about it.
It’s the same as my long-held belief that penguin meat would be delicious (I mean, right? Nice layer of fat, precious little sinew…). Just because humans haven’t integrated an animal or animal products into our diet yet shouldn’t make it unappetizing or unthinkable.
Now, I’m not suggesting we start milking pigs because, quite frankly, god help the poor bastard who tries to milk a pig. I’m sure we don’t do it because no self-respecting sow would allow that sort of nonsense for a hot second. I’m just saying, I’m curious about the flavor.
And speaking of flavor…
This past Saturday marked the opening day of Bimi’s Cheese Shop, a venture we embarked upon with two of our closest friends, Chris and Ellen. We stock all kinds of lovely goodies at Bimi’s; charcuterie and jams, crackers and vinegars, a grilled cheese bar, and, of course, dozens of cheeses from around the world.
We do not have pig cheese.
But we DO have a bucket marked “pig cheese.”
This is for the little bits and pieces that get left on the cutting wires, knives, and boards throughout the day. Rather than discard rinds and other unusable pieces, we simply fill the little bucket as we go along, knowing that Bubble and Squeak (and increasingly, the piglets) will find these tidbits a welcome addition to their usual treats of stale bread and compost.
Now, we just need to get the babies to stop trying to nurse on Papa.
So wonderful to see pigs being reared in a humane way. Gorgeous pics!
Your description of the piglets scrambing for a teat has me smiling. They must never outgrow that. Every time I feed ours, and they are well beyond the piglet stage, they push, shove, and squeal as if unless they hold that particular spot then they’re going to go hungry. Even though they’ve had hundreds of meals here by now and on every single occasion there has been plenty of room for them all.
Your shop makes me envious. Not envious that you have it. I don’t envy that. I have no idea how you have the time and energy to do so much. I envy the fact that you in live in a place where such a shop can exist. I’m trying to imagine a place in our community selling specialty cheeses. Can’t do it. It’s unimaginable. Our local country store sells slim jims, beer, cigarettes, lottery tickets, hardware and live bait. But alas, no charcuterie. But Hardees, which is one of our most popular local restaurants is now featuring a fried bologna and velvetta biscuit. Velvetta. I suppose that is a sort of specialty cheese.
Great post as always.