Due to demand we are taking this workshop on the road from May to October. Should you be interested in attending or have a possible venue, please email the address below.

2-day Workshop

This 2-day workshop will give you a unique window into what pastured pork is all about, as well as how to manage pigs in an outdoor environment.

“We just wanted to thank you both for a wonderful day spent on your farm.
We found the workshop so well hosted, very informative and inspirational.
 I feel confident that the processes we were introduced to will help us improve our efficiency on our farm. We can’t thank you enough for that amazing lunch and your hospitality.  You have a lovely place and we really look forward to attending more of your events in the future.”Barbara and Ben

“Thank you both so much for an awesome weekend. We learned so many new skills!! The course was so well put together and your operation, from enclosures, pasture programme, health and happiness of your animals all translates into delicious quality products. We had some bacon this morning J. VERY GOOD!! We have come home inspired and energised with a much clearer idea of where we want to be and how we are going to get there. Thank you once again!”Darren and Lance

When: to be advised, Please email earth@wickedfood.co.za

Where: Wickedfood Earth roadshow around South Africa.

Cost: R2990pp for both days or R1990pp per day, including tea/coffee and lunch on both days.

To Book: cilla@wickedfood.co.za 076 236-2345

Background

Wickedfood Earth Farm has been farming with free-range pigs for over 12 years. We’ve been very successful, raising over 1 500 pigs during this period with very few problems. We don’t use any growth stimulants or antibiotics. In all this time we’ve only lost 2 sows during farrowing, and 2 pigs due to snake bites. We use the meat to make charcuterie and for our workshops, as well as selling fresh cuts directly to the public. Just before Covid, we decided to start a more structured programme, our aim is to develop the following:

  • A viable herd of free-range pigs viable for South African conditions. To this end, at the moment we are running 3 parallel breeds:
    • Kolbroek – to preserve and grow the breed – at the moment we have 5 breeding sows from 2 different bloodlines and 3 boars. I’m an administrator on the Kolbroek Facebook page and in touch with most of the breeders around the country.
    • Duroc – we have a breeding pair that we use mainly as as a bloodline for our breeding programme, and to breed for genetic sales;
    • European Boar – as with the Duroc, we have a breeding pair that we use mainly as as a bloodline for our breeding programme.
  • A free-range pig specific to the South African market – we are busy with various crosses including Kolbroek, Duroc, and European boar, with promising results. 
  • A cheaper, nutritional alternative to commercial feed – there is a small, but growing market for free-range meat, moving away from intensive factory-farmed products to a more natural farming model. This has worked well for beef and chicken, but very little information exists for pork. We’re looking at different models and working closely with Simon Hodgson of www.agtcovercrops.co.za. In a free-range environment, most animals, including pigs, take on average, twice as long to grow than intensively-raised animals. The feed costs therefore mount substantially. A more affordable food source, in the form of pasture, could make this a reality. 

Many small-scale and subsistence farmers around South Africa have pigs as an important mix on their farms and are looking to add value to sell direct. There is very little credible information out there.

 

Points to be covered

Day 1

Slaughter demonstration – An early start where we do a full live demonstration on dispatching a pig humanely, scraping, cleaning and disemboweling the carcass, and preparing for chilling down and processing the next day;  

For the remainder of the day we concentrate on free-range pig husbandry. This will include a detailed tour of the farm seeing exactly how we successfully farm free-range pigs on pasture, followed by a sit-down presentation and Q&A session. Points covered include:

  • Animal Biosecurity – very important, what are the regulations, symptoms, and practical precautions, including the movement of animals; 
  • General health issues in pigs – what to look out for and common problems;
  • The farm medical cabinet – essentials for emergencies and for workers who may be bitten or attacked;
  • Farrowing to weaning

    • Possible complications when farrowing, precautions, and preventative measures;
    • To do, or not – castrate, tail dock, or clip teeth. If so, why and at what age is it recommended? 
    • What is the best age to wean?
  • Growing out – herd management once weened, up to slaughter to get maximum growth.
  • Genetics – In a perfect world, the boar and sow should not be related. However, that’s not always possible. 
    • What is the closest relationship that you could go to? 
    • What are the consequences of sibling interbreeding?
  • Dietary guidelines – (We will be including 3 extensive case-study documents in the information notes at the workshop).
    • What is the perfect nutritional makeup for a pig’s diet for growth ie crude protein, carbohydrates, etc.
    • What are the best sources for these? (Simon will be going into this in more detail).
    • Alternative food sources.
    • The problem with slop.
  • Other – At the end of the workshop we will open the floor up for general questions.

Day 2

We will spend most of the day doing a hands-on demonstration on how to break down a carcass for butchery cuts, and how to make two delicious sausages. Points covered include:

  • Slaughter, the theory  – regulations, by-laws, and exceptions. Our belief, is that you are defeating the object of free-ranging if, at the last stroke of life, you stuff the pigs into a truck, drive them for 2+ hours to a slaughter house where they then go through the trauma of waiting to be slaughtered.
  • The art of pig butchery – a detailed hands-on demonstration on pig butchery. this includes:
    • The basic carcass breakdown into shoulder, mid-section and ham;
    • Detailed butchery – into specific cuts including as chops, roasts, de-boning, and rashers; and
    • Sausage making – we share the theory of making the perfect fresh sausage and how to make our most popular pork sausage, the breakfast banger.

Presenter

Mike Crewe-Brown – project development manager at Wickedfood Earth Farm. Over the last 12 years he has been developing the farm along permaculture lines. He has developed a very successful free-range pig operation, both through trial and error, and visiting similar operations around South Africa and Europe. Apart from farming pigs, he also runs a series of very popular workshops on the farm and around South Africa, on pig butchery and curing. In recognition of the groundbreaking work that is being done on Wickedfood Earth Farm and Country Cooking School, Slow Food Johannesburg honoured Cilla and Mike with the 2015 Food Heroes Award for “development of rare breeds and education on sustainable food and farming.” 

Format for the 2 days

Day 1

  • From 8:30 to 9:00 – arrival, teas and coffees;
  • 9:00 sharp – hands-on demonstration on how to slaughter a pig;
  • 10:30 – 10:45 – tea break, welcome and overview by Mike of our objectives;
  • 10:45 – ±12:00 – an in-depth guided tour of the farm (wear comfortable walking shoes and bring a hat) with on-the-spot Q&A, including:  
    • Pasture, make-up;
    • Fencing;
    • Camp construction and housing;
    • Movement of animals around the farm;
  • 12:00 – 12:15 – Tea/toilet break
  • 12:15 – 13:00 – Theoretical presentation
  • 13:00 – 14:00 – Lunch
  • 14:00 to 15:00 – Q&A
  • 15:00 – Depart

Day 2

  • 9:00 – 9:30 – arrival, teas and coffees
  • 9:30 – 10:00 – the theory of pig butchery and meat preparation
  • 10:00 – 14:00 – hands-on butchery demonstration
  • 14:00 – 15:00 Lunch
  • 15:00 – Depart