Why We Decided to Raise Hogs-The Old-Fashioned Way

Why We Decided to Raise Hogs-The Old-Fashioned Way - Acorn Bluff Farms

We raise Mangalitsa, the best tasting breed of pork, on a farm in Iowa. Our Pigs  are fed a mix of acorns, corn, pumpkins, and other naturally occurring items on the farm, with the idea of augmenting the genetics that have created the best tasting pork in the world (often called Mangalitsa or Mangalica). 


For millennia, domesticated hogs were raised outside, feeding on pasture and whatever they could scavenge. Many times pigs, like the famous Spanish breed, Ibericos, were finished on Acorns or other nuts. These nuts impart a rich, umami-like flavor that is missing in modern pork.

Secondly, the hysteria that swept through the western hemisphere and was responsible for atrocities like fat-free croutons soon had everyone believing dietary fat was evil and causing our modern obesity epidemic. That was a wrong (and dangerous belief). However, as a result, dietary fat was briefly demonized in America. Chicken meat, with its leanness and lack of flavor, caught on. The pork producers, in a successful effort to boost their brand image, re-branded Pork as “The other white meat'“ and began breeding for and selling extremely lean meat. This, combined with the mass homogenization of pork production, led to pork that tasted nothing like the rich, fatty meat our ancestors enjoyed on the farm. Instead, a bland, dry stringy pork was substituted.

Thankfully, Mangalitsa meat was rare in the US during this time, and untainted. American heritage breeds like Berkshires and Hampshires survive as well.

The breeding line of Mangalitsa, or Mangalica as it is sometimes known, remained free from the anti-fat hysteria gripping the US. When the breed was brought over in the 1990s, we were at the beginning of a renaissance of fat as flavor. As the primacy of fat in creating flavorful food is recognized by shows like Netflix’s “Salt, Fat, and Heat”, the deep marbling and intramuscular fat of Mangalitsa meat allows for its rich, deep and tasty flavor profile and is rocketing back into the public consciousness.

Remember, fat = flavor, and most modern pork breeds have had all of the fat, and consequently all of the flavor, bred out of them.

Here’s what our meat looks like. Notice all the intramuscular fat? That’s flavor!!

If you’re interested in buying some of our meat (soon we will be shipping across the US), sign up for our newsletter here. Acorn Bluff Farms is located in rural Columbus Junction, Iowa, 4 hours from Chicago and St. Louis, and produces top quality, local, sustainably-raised pork.







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