Virtual Farm Visit: Visiting an Ohio Hog Farm

Thank you to the Ohio Pork Council for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions are my own.

A virtual farm visit to an Ohio hog farm near Cincinnati to educate others on the love and care that goes into providing safe, quality meat for consumers.

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I’ve had the opportunity to visit three Ohio farms this year, learning more about the background of how food gets on my plate. Have you ever thought about it? We enjoy meals together around the kitchen table or at a family restaurant, but there are people working hard to bring you that quality meat that you savor with each bite.

Ohio has over 3500 farm families that produce enough pork to feed about 25 million people. That’s pretty amazing for a little state of Ohio! Just this fall, I had the unique chance to visit Schwab Family Farms in southwest Ohio. Because the farm visit came just at the time we were busy moving, I jumped at the chance to visit the Schwab Family hog farm through a virtual farm visit. That’s right…I was sitting in my kitchen at the laptop and Lauren Schwab so kindly showed me around the farm that she grew up on. The kids eyes were glued to the screen. Who can resist little piggies that were only a few days old, piled up in a warm bundle and feasting on their mama’s milk?

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The Schwab family farm is a small farm in comparison to other productions {about 40 acres}, but their technology and procedures are on point. They are a “farrowing to wean” operation. The main job of this facility is to raise pigs from birth until they are too big to feed from their mother. This gives them the chance to give the best possible start for the pigs’ first stage of life. They have about 1200 sows on rotation, with each sow raising about 10-12 piglets at a time. We got a peek into one of the barns full of these little piglets and their moms. As Lauren tenderly picked them up to show us, I wished I was there to reach out and cuddle it!

Why are the pigs kept in barns? This allows the farmers to protect the pigs’ health (they wash and clean the barns daily), it uses less land, and allows them to keep the pigs out of the crazy Ohio weather. They keep their barns regulated at 80 degrees. Did you know that pigs don’t sweat? This makes the barns even more important to keep the pigs comfortable!

All pork farmers must be certified, meeting safety standards. The pigs have regular vet checkups. The Schwabs work with nutritionists to make sure the pigs have exactly the nutrients that they need to continue to produce quality meat. Just like humans, animals can pass disease back and forth. Lauren’s family is proud of the fact that their farm has never had a disease. The biosecurity measures they put into place have helped this.

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Many of you have asked me in the past if pork is a healthy meat to eat. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, pork tenderloin is just as lean as a skinless chicken breast.  Over the years, much has been done to improve the quality of pork. Because pigs are kept in temperature-regulated barns, there is no need for them to keep as much fat on themselves. This makes for a leaner pig. The leanest cut of pig is a “loin”. Look for “loin” on the meat packages in your favorite grocery store.

I asked Lauren during my virtual farm visit to tell me what she was most proud of about her farm. She replied that she was always quick to share about the individual care and attention the pigs get. There is a personal, human interaction and they truly care about each animal.

This is evident in her excitement for talking about her family farm. I have no doubt about her love for each animal!

The virtual farm visit was a unique way to visit the farm. If you are a teacher (or a homeschooling mama like me!), I highly recommend contacting a local Ohio farm to see if you can visit either in person or via a virtual farm tour. Come prepared with your questions. The family farmers are full of knowledge and love to talk about what they do each day to provide quality meat to families like yours.

Learn more about the Ohio Pork Council here. You can follow them on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.

Find pork recipes here.

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About Julie Clark

I'm Julie Clark, CEO and recipe developer of Tastes of Lizzy T. With my B.A. in Education and over 30 years of cooking and baking, I want to teach YOU the best of our family recipes.

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