PASTURED / WOODLAND PORK

Pork is one of the most versatile meat animals out there. From lean chops and hams to succulent ribs and side pork, marbled shoulder roasts or steaks, or processed items like sausages or bacon: pigs provide cuts to satisfy all tastes and preferences!

As with all of our animals, Return to Earth’s woodland pork is raised without the use of antibiotics, steroids, or growth hormones.

pork tenderloin

TENDERLOIN is, in our opinion, the king of the porky cuts. Cut from the end of the loin, the tenderloin is easily the most tender cut of pork. Lean and easy to cook, tenderloin is equally comfortable as a casual weeknight dinner or as the centrepiece of an elaborate dinner party.

bacon

BACON, REAL bacon, is the posh cousin to pork belly elevated through its cured and smoked refinement. It is an incredibly versatile item that can be eaten on its own or used as an ingredient in a larger recipe to add a salty, smokey, umami boost to almost any meal.

pork ribs

SPARE / SIDE RIBS are meaty and best known for their full-bodied flavor. Ribs need plenty of time to cook down, but give them the time they demand and you’ll be treated to a tender, flavourful, and literal fall-off-the-bone meal.

side pork

PORK BELLY, cut from the underside of the pig, pork belly is succulent and richly flavoured. When not being made into homemade bacon, pork belly is at its best when slowly cooked which allows it to tenderize before searing to add crispness.

dinner sausage

DINNER SAUSAGE is a staple in many homes and for good reason – they are delicious! Our sausages are a German-style Bratwurst. Cook them as they are or remove the casing and use the meat in sauces, stews, or as a pizza topping.

breakfast sausage

BREAKFAST SAUSAGE, like dinner sausage, is a staple in many households – including ours! A finer grind of meat, smaller links, and a lighter blend of seasonings make breakfast sausages the perfect accompaniment to a Sunday morning brekkie.

pork hocks

HAM HOCKS are a cut from the lower part of a pig’s leg. Hocks are rarely served as a stand-alone meat, but are an invaluable ingredient in ragu / red sauces, soups, stock, beans, etc.

fresh ham

BONE-IN FRESH HAM has not been cured, salted, smoked, or cooked. This cut has a texture and taste similar to a loin roast, but with better marbling. We suggest a low and slow cook for fall-off the bone goodness! And be sure to retain that bone for an unbelievable stock or soup!

OSSO BUCCO literally means “bone with a hole”. This cut, while usually seen in beef, is a flavour-packed way to enjoy the lower portion of the rear leg. Like all “shanks”, this cut benefits from a longer cook time.

pork chops

PORK CHOPS (both loin and rib) are very lean cuts with a lower fat / calorie count than most other cuts of pork. We suggest using a meat thermometer when cooking these lean cuts to avoid overcooking and serve with a warmed chutney of your choice. YUM!

pork shoulder steaks

SHOULDER / BLADE STEAKS are an economical and well-marbled cut which are resistant to overcooking, have a full flavour profile, and make for a delicious weeknight meal.

pork shoulder roast

BUTT /  PICNIC ROASTS, despite their name, are cut from the shoulder of the pig and are a full-flavoured and well marbled cut. All shoulder roasts require a lengthy cook to be at their best, but the end results are oh-so-worthwhile.

ground pork

GROUND meat of any kind is highly versatile and economical. Use ground pork in meatballs, wontons, cabbage rolls, tacos, stir-fry, etc.

COOKING YOUR PORK

butcher map of pig
RIB / LOIN

Tenderloin

Ribs

Chops

LEG

Bone-in Ham

Hocks

Osso Bucco (Shank)

SHOULDER

Shoulder Steaks

Butt / Picnic Roast

OTHER CUTS

Bacon

Belly / Side Pork

Sausage

Ground

BRAISE / STEW

PAN / AIR FRY

GRILL / BROIL

ROAST

RAISING OUR PASTURED / WOODLAND PIGS

woodland pig in shelter looking out over pasture

Return to Earth’s woodland pigs join us in the early spring where they spend their first few weeks indoors in our light-filled greenhouse “barn” as we wire-train the piglets while the weather warms and the piglets to grow large enough to safely move outdoors into their outdoor paddocks.

Pigs are incredibly adept at digging (rooting) in order to find roots, nuts, fallen fruits, insects and other forage. However, this trait is also destructive when contained to a small(er) area for long, so we regularly move our pigs into new paddocks to avoid damage to the woodland floor. We also overseed the “used” paddocks with a native mix to take advantage of the disturbed soils and increase flora diversity across the paddocks.

In addition to what they can forage and their base silage, the pigs are also treated with cut-offs from our own organically grown vegetable garden. Brussels sprout foliage and tomatoes are favourites – especially as they are often paired with a good ear scritch.

We only raise our pigs from spring through early winter and do not keep any pigs during the winter months when they would need to be kept indoors. This is in part because pigs kept indoors can become aggressive, but mostly because pigs raised outdoors on pasture produce pork with a very distinctive and sought-after flavour. In fact, the best pork in the world comes from pastured or woodland pigs!

WHY PASTURED?

Compared to corn- and soy-fed hogs, the meat from pigs raised on pasture and in wooded areas offers significant benefits over conventionally-raised pork:

4x more omega-3 fats

8x more vitamin D

60% lower omega-6 : omega-3 ratio

2x more vitamin E

3x higher polyunsaturated : saturated fat ratio

Also, it tastes something awesome!