Long Meadow Ranch to Raise Endangered Red Wattle Pigs
June 22, 2006, Rutherford, CA
Long Meadow Ranch has agreed to house a pair of rare heirloom Red Wattle hogs for breeding purposes to help diversify the risk of maintaining the breed. Red Wattles, an endangered species along with numerous other farm animal breeds, are included in the Slow Food Ark of Taste program that seeks to save our economic, social and cultural heritage. The Ark of Taste mission is to preserve endangered tastes - and to celebrate them, by introducing them back to the world.
Two piglets, a boar and a gilt, have traveled from Missouri under the care of the breeder as part of a campaign to raise awareness about the need to preserve heritage farm breeds. The piglets will be presented to the Hall family on June 30th at a benefit ceremony hosted by the Napa Valley Slow Food Convivium and Heritage Foods USA at the Silverado Resort. The event will feature Red Wattle pork prepared by eight prominent Napa Valley chefs.
The piglets will be housed, raised and bred at LMR with help from instructor Randy Mendes and students from the St. Helena High School FFA program.
The Red Wattle breed is a large, red hog with a fleshy wattle attached to each side of the neck. The wattles have no known function. The Red Wattle comes in a variety of shades of red and black, with mature animals weighing 600-800 pounds. Red Wattle hogs are known for their hardiness, foraging activity, and rapid growth rate. They produce lean meat notable for its flavor and tenderness.
Although they adapt to a wide range of climates, they have fallen from favor over the years as the rise of factory farming has increased. Most heirloom breeds of animal are not suitable for factory farming as they are, inherently, foragers, many are slower growers and, ultimately, reach smaller adult sizes. According to the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy (ALBC), fifteen different breeds of pigs were raised for market in the 1930s; today, six of them are extinct.
Much of pork’s popularity in history relied on their ability to provide large quantities of lard used for a broad scope of household purposes whereas Red Wattles are very lean. In fact, their meat is very high in healthy omega-3 fatty acids, contributing to their high demand today.
Although the origin and history of the Red Wattle breed is obscure, most historians believe they were brought to the United States from New Caledonia, a French Island in the South Pacific near Australia. They were known to be available in French New Orleans in the late 1700's. The pigs that endure today are descendents of wild herds discovered living in the wilds of eastern Texas hill country in the early 1970s.
LMR Co-owner Ted Hall said, “We are very excited to have these new residents at the Ranch. Just as our heirloom Highland cattle have prospered, as the heirloom fruits and vegetables at Rutherford Gardens have thrived, we look forward to the prospect of being a part of the re-introduction of this high quality farm breed into the community.” The Napa Valley Slow Food Convivium and Heritage Foods USA will present LMR with the two Red Wattle pigs at a benefit event June 30, 6 -10 PM at Silverado Resort. Eight Napa Valley chefs have chosen portions of the Red Wattle to prepare for this celebratory event:
Greg Cole - Celedon / Cole's Chop House - Shoulder
Kimball Jones - The Carneros Inn - Country Ribs
Peter Halikas - n.v. - Heads and Tails
Nate Keller - Cafe 150 - Heart
Peter Pahk - The Silverado Resort - Trotters ( feet )
Ryan Jackson - Brix - Tougue - Tenderloin
Victor Scargle - Julia's Kitchen - Belly
Vincent Nattress - Meadowood Resort - Striploin.
A selection of Napa Valley wines will be paired with the Red Wattle dishes. Tickets are $50 for Slow Food members and $60 for non-members. For more information or to buy tickets, go to: http://brownpapertickets.com/event/4750.
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Slow Food USA is an educational organization dedicated to stewardship of the land and ecologically sound food production; to the revival of the kitchen and the table as centers of pleasure, culture, and community; to the invigoration and proliferation of regional, seasonal culinary traditions; to the creation of a collaborative, ecologically-oriented, and virtuous globalization; and to living a slower and more harmonious rhythm of life.
Heritage Foods USA exists to promote genetic diversity, small family farms, and a fully traceable food supply. We are committed to making wholesome, delicious and sustainably produced heritage foods available to all Americans. In doing so, we will foster the link between sustainable land use, small-scale food production and preservation of the foods of past generations for future generations.
Long Meadow Ranch is an innovative organic farming operation - and purveyor of fine food - located high above the Napa Valley on the picturesque slopes of the Mayacamas Mountains where it produces extraordinary wine, extra virgin olive oil, grass-fed beef, eggs, and heirloom fruits and vegetables for Napa Valley's finest restaurants. Long Meadow Ranch produces ultra premium wines and extra virgin olive oils, under the Long Meadow Ranch Winery, Ranch House Red, Prato Lungo, and Napa Valley Select labels. Beyond the Napa Valley, America's top chefs have regularly featured Long Meadow Ranch wines and olive oils.
Long Meadow Ranch has been known as such since 1872 when it was established as an original "patent grant" ranch signed over by President Ulysses S. Grant. Having been home to a variety of uses during its long history, Long Meadow Ranch continues to grow and prosper through Ted, Laddie and Christopher Hall's stewardship.
The Halls continue to restore and preserve Napa Valley's oldest olive groves, as well as add new plantings of olive trees and vineyards. They have also brought cattle, poultry, and vegetables back into commercial production. Appaloosa horse breeding, along with an extensive composting operation, round out the integrated farming activities at the Ranch.
"Excellence through Responsible Farming" is the motto of Long Meadow Ranch, bolstered by the belief that world-class products can be produced using sustainable, organic farming methods. Long Meadow Ranch does not use herbicides or pesticides and its products are organically grown and certified by the California Certified Organic Farmers.
Contact: Chris Hall