I’ve always been one to get up close and personal with animals: petting them, scratching them, letting them lick me.
Last Thursday, I took that to a whole new level.
It was the day after I visited Miles Smith Farm in Loudon and bought just over two pounds of pork. It wasn’t just any meat – it was the remains of Pink 2.0, a heritage pig I reported on and photographed for five months, from birth until slaughter.
Miles Smith farmer Carole Soule showed me her meat cooler, where I poked through the cardboard boxes before settling on a pound of ground pork and two healthy sized pork chops.
(I originally was thinking of buying bacon, but Soule told me it’s made from a pig’s belly and has to be sent out to be processed separately).
I rung out at Soule’s farm store register and forked over the $25.98 for my meat – 2.23 pounds to be exact. The next day, I took my meat, some nachos fixings and seasoning to to a co-worker’s house, where we cooked up a pork feast for our colleagues.
It was a strange sensation, eating part of a pig that I knew.
A co-worker’s reaction summed up how Pink 2.0 tasted in the end: juicy, tender, full of flavor.
“That’s damn good,” he said.
For the chops we simply brushed them with a light layer of olive oil, garlic salt and pepper, then grilled them for about 15 minutes, turning them over several times.
Here’s the recipe for the loaded pork nachos we made:
Loaded Pork Nachos
about 1 pound ground pork
1 packet Old El Paso taco seasoning mix (original flavor)
bag of tortilla chips
1 tomato, diced
1 ripe avocado, sliced
shredded Mexican cheese blend
1 bunch green onions, diced
1 bunch of cilantro, shredded
1 green pepper, diced
1 can small black olives, halved
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large sauce pan, sprinkle a pinch of salt, then crumble the ground pork into small bits. Cook over medium heat, stirring regularly. Once the meat is browned, add in the packet of taco seasoning and stir until fully cooked.
In a 9-by-13-inch pan, spread a layer of tortilla chips. Sprinkle a light layer of shredded cheese over the chips and then add a second layer of chips. Add diced tomato, pepper and then the cooked meat.
Sprinkle diced green onions, shredded cilantro and halved black olives over the top in the amount desired.
Add another light layer of cheese, and bake in the over for 15 minutes, or until the cheese slightly browns.
Squeeze fresh lime juice over the top just after taking the pan out of the oven. Serve with sliced avocado and sour cream.
(This article concludes a six-month project by Ag & Eats blogger and “Monitor” staffer Elodie Reed, who documented “Pink 2.0” to see how locally raised pork is cared for, processed and eventually, consumed. Have questions or Ag & Eats news tips, events or recipes? Reed can be reached at 369-3306, firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @elodie_reed.)