Op-ed: Witnessing a pig’s life

By on Jul 31, 2016 in A Pig's Life |

I was just an unassuming 10-year-old kid when I sat on the couch one night and put on the PBS show Frontier House. The premise is that three families have to “live on the frontier” and imitate life in Montana in 1883. At first it was entertaining, watching one family’s teenage daughters sob over the idea of not wearing makeup for six months. Then the camera focused on a tree stump in the yard, and I didn’t really understand why there was somber music in the background. A chicken came into view, and then the father of the family. He was holding the chicken by its feet in one hand and a hatchet in the other. Chicken on the stump, he swung – and missed. Before he could give it another try, I ran over to the TV, heart racing, and frantically hit the on/off switch. I then began to cry uncontrollably at the horror of it all. If I remember correctly, my family served chicken that night. I...

Final pig podcast

By on Jul 29, 2016 in A Pig's Life |

Alas, the “A Pig’s Life: From piglet to pork-chop,” journey has come to an end. My editor, Jon Van Fleet, and I discussed the process over some loaded ground pork nachos we made with the meat from Pink 2.0. Listen here, and the final photo gallery is below (some photos may be disturbing to viewers). Also keep an eye out for Sunday’s Monitor, where there will be an op-ed by me on reporting this story.

Making lunch with Pink 2.0

By on Jul 27, 2016 in A Pig's Life, Recipes |

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...

A Pig’s Life: From piglet to pork-chop, the final installment

By on Jul 27, 2016 in A Pig's Life |

On the morning of July 11, there was a crowd around the Miles Smith Farm pig shed. Loudon farmer Carole Soule, her husband, Bruce, and 19-year-old farmhand Duncan Coles, from the Virgin Islands, all busied themselves around the entryway. Next to them, some curious pigs looked on from within the shed’s small enclosure. A large white trailer was backed to the shed door. “C’mon buddy,” Coles said as he stood behind a large pink pig with splotchy black spots, and pushed. Because the 5-month-old pig had interacted with humans many times before, he didn’t seem bothered by the person maneuvering him through some boards and up a ramp – maybe just a little confused about where he should be going. After several minutes, the pink pig and another black sibling pig were loaded and ready to go. There was a tangible sadness in the air on this Monday, my usual biweekly day to go and visit the pink...

Pink 2.0 goes public (radio)

By on Jul 15, 2016 in A Pig's Life, Multimedia |

In commemoration of Pink 2.0 and his last day with us (we went to the slaughterhouse together on Monday), NHPR had me back to talk about the journey. Listen here: http://nhpr.org/post/foodstuffs-life-pig-raised-slaughter-part-ii

Pig Podcast 3

By on Jul 8, 2016 in A Pig's Life | 1 comment

Here is our third, admittedly belated, Pig Podcast. Sadly, our former sound genius, Clay Wirestone, has since left the Monitor. But editor Jonathan Van Fleet is switching from politics to pigs for this podcast, where we talk about Pink 2.0 in the days leading up to his appointment with the butcher. Check it out (and see all the pig-lover-friendly photos below):