News Alert: We now have a fresh supply of Winfield Mangalitsa pork cuts in our Mangalitsa Market
Now on hand: sliced hickory-smoked bacon, bone-in chops, ground pork (sweet Italian); bone-in hickory smoked hams, bone-in loin roast, Boston butt roast, smoked hocks.
Visit our Mangalitsa Market online, but please call first to ensure availability. Supplies are going quickly!
Good grief! Where does time go?
Fall is in the air, even though the days were still uncommonly warm heading into Thanksgiving week. Bruce has been a busy man this summer, “pig-herding” our Mangalitsas, whose population doubled this spring when eight sows farrowed a total of 60 piglets. The “gang of 60” is now 5-6 months old, and a very rowdy bunch indeed, but it’s hilarious to watch them cavort (you can see the circus on video on the Winfield Farm Facebook page*. Check out the link: https://winfieldfarm.us/store/?p=1381).
Pigs cannot be herded, by the way. We discovered this after the group of “30”, farrowed last summer and ready for market, broke through the fence separating them from Bruce’s garden, where more than 100 grafted heirloom tomato plants were nearly ready to harvest, along with the rest of the produce we’d grown to stock our farm stand this summer. Porcine glee was evident – and not to be dissuaded – as the marauders systematically demolished everything in what seemed record time: 15 minutes was all it took to undo several months of hard labor. Asi es la vida…
(Lesson learned: Bruce will erect a double fence between garden and piggies next year!)
On a positive note, Winfield Farm Mangas have attracted attention from a growing number of world-class chefs. In the Santa Ynez Valley, Industrial Eats in Buellton is a steady customer, as is Full of Life Flatbread in Los Alamos. The Ballard Inn now also features Winfield Farm Mangalitsa pork, and Hitching Post II is a fan, too. In fact, chef/owner Frank Ostini took Winfield Mangalitsa chops to the Celebration of Harvest Festival in October and did a cooking demo. According to reviews: it was fabulous.
Frank also extolled Winfield Mangalitsa pork in a “Pairing Wine with Fire” feature article in the Santa Barbara Independent:
Which meat with chardonnay?
Ostini: I’m pining for a Winfield Farm Mangalitsa pork chop, grown by Santa Ynez Valley rancher Bruce Steele, who is my neighbor. It is for sure the greatest “other white meat.” The white part of this is the fat that is so flavorful, rich, and glorious when grilled and cuts through the acidity of the [Hitching Post] Sta. Rita Hills chardonnay, making it a perfect match….
Mattei’s Tavern in Los Olivos also will begin featuring Winfield Mangalitsa pork soon. We delivered our first pig on November 20, and charcuterie chef Drew Tarp is excited to create new head-to-hoof delicacies.
One outstanding feature of Mangalitsa is its pure white, mouth-watering fat. A rare heritage lard hog, prime Mangalitsa pork may contain as much as 50 percent fat – but it’s very high in oleic acid–the good fat!
Brian Polcyn, well-known chef/author of the book Charcuterie, gave us a lesson in Mangalitsa fat vs. other pigs at the Mangalitsa Breeders Conference in Michigan this past summer. Bruce and I actually escaped for a “vacation” — while son Eric came down from the Bay Area to mind our pigs. (*He created the video of a typical day in the life — feeding the rowdies, making wallows etc. – and filmed it double-time for effect!)
As part of the breeders conference, we toured the meat department at Michigan State University, an impressive facility, where Polcyn illustrated the difference between Manga and a typical market pig — at least double the fat cap, which is what makes Mangalitsa flavor so sublime. Fat is also responsible for making Mangalitsa perfect for charcuterie — ranked with Spanish Iberico Bellota as the best prosciutto in the world!
Brian Polcyn illustrates why chefs pay more for Mangalitsa pork: taste and quality.
“Fat is flavor. Fat is our friend. We love fat!”
The Mangalitsa Breeders Conference was a great getaway for both of us. Much of the activity took place at Wilhelm Kohl and partner Marc Santucci’s “Pure Mangalitsa” farm in Haslett MI, where they are importing new blood lines for blond and red Mangalitsas from Hungary via quarantine in the Netherlands.
After the instructional class session at MSU’s meat lab, the conference transformed into a 2-day party – a Mangalitsa feast, where Mangalitsa breeders from all over the country networked, shared their home-made charcuterie and cooked up a stew of – Mangalitsa.
Another highlight of our adventure: we met Peter Toth, president of the Hungarian Mangalitsa Breeders Association, who is widely acclaimed as the person who saved Mangalitsa pigs from extinction.
Now that the dog days of summer are waning, Bruce is scrambling to prepare for the monster El Niño that is predicted to strike this winter. Early forecasts project this as at least as tumultuous as the 1997 event, and perhaps a record-breaker (cautionary news for those of us who live in the 100-year flood plain of the Santa Ynez River…)
Bruce built an “ark”, a huge covered structure about 26 feet wide and 80 feet long, incorporating our farrowing sheds, to provide shelter on both sides of two pig pastures.
In addition, the gang of 60 will have access to our 70 x 30 hoop house and the old gray chicken coop that Bruce remodeled to shelter pigs.
We also leased several acres near by on Drum Canyon Road, on high ground, just in case our fields go underwater here… and that requires more fence building.
Bruce is also working to establish cover on our fields before the rains come, to retain the topsoil. Thankfully the grass he seeded last spring is regenerating nicely after rotating pigs off pasture — well enough to let our market-ready pigs back on it for a little foraging fun before they go to market.
Winfield Mangalitsas have a good life — and a naturally good diet based on pasture, squash, acorns in season and barley (to keep white fat white and pure). Winfield pigs eat NO GMOs…
One more thing that we’re proud to say: We invested in solar last year, so we’re now running our entire farm, including 2 wells, the house and barn, 3 freezers – everything – on alternative energy this year.
We have a new supply of Mangalitsa pork on hand in time for the holidays. Please viist our Mangalitsa Market and email or call to order. Taste the magic for yourself!
We wish you a very Happy Holiday season.
All our best,
Bruce & Diane