Sometime around today, Kewanee, Illinois, will be pulling out all the stops for the Hog Capital of the World Festival, the most significant feature of which is the World's Largest Pork Chop Barbeque. (I think they mean quantity of chops barbequed rather than a barbeque featuring one really big chop.) There are supposed to be 60,000 attendees at this fete, which features, of course, a beauty pageant for little girls, a tractor pull, and "professional entertainment," among other activities that seem to be requisite for this sort of event.
I have put a pork roast in the oven as a gesture of solidarity with my pig producing peers in Podunk and while the heavenly aroma of browning fat and sizzling juices wafts through the house, I will give another lesson to combat agricultural illiteracy.
"The Only Part You Can't Use is the Squeal"
That's what they used to say about pigs, but I haven't heard the expression lately. Maybe people don't like thinking of their food as having once been capable of vocalization. Go figure. Anyway, it is completely true when you are talking about commercially raised hogs and it is true enough here on Goatview Farm. And that isn't even the best thing about porkers.
Probably the very best thing about pigs is their superb feed conversion rate: for every three pounds of good commercial feed you give, you get a pound of live pig. That's efficient. About the only thing you can raise for meat that is more efficient is a Cornish cross chicken; one pound of live weight for every 2.6 pounds of feed and in the case of the chickens, the live weight is much closer to hanging weight (hanging weight = weight with all the skin and organs removed) than it is in pigs. I'll write more about those delightful critters later.
But wait a minute before you rush out to Pigs-R-Us. As attractive as I have made the prospect, pork production, at least on the scale of the hobby farmer, is not without drawbacks.
To be continued.
Saints celebrating feast days today include Saint Drithelm, Saint Giles (patron saint of beggars, cripples, and blacksmiths), and Saint Priscus of Capua.
Lily Tomlin (1939, Detroit) and Yvonne De Carlo (Peggy Yvonne Middleton) (1922, Vancouver, B.C., Canada) celebrate birthdays today.