A Pig’s Life: From piglet to pork-chop, Week 19

  • Pink 2.0 gets some shade on a hot sunny day Monday. ELODIE REED / Monitor staff

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Even by 8:30 a.m. on Monday, the day’s temperature was inching toward its 91-degree high, and Pink 2.0 was in search of somewhere cool to lay down. 

After getting stepped on several times in the pig shed, he settled for the dry dirt underneath Carole Soule’s parked manure spreader. As he squashed in with his siblings – all well over 100 pounds now – Soule and I remarked how quickly time has flown since Pink 2.0 was born on a bitter cold, February night.

“He’s going to be ready pretty soon,” Soule told me, indicating Pink 2.0 was close to processing weight. “We’ll choose a date this week – no later than August.”

As we both prepare for the end of this journey – Pink’s death and eventual processing into saleable meat – I asked Soule what kind of backlash she gets as a meat farmer.

“I think everyone has the right to be a vegetarian or vegan, and they have the right to share their views,” said Soule. “But try to be civil.”

Soule gets messages, often on social media, in which she’s called various things, including “murderer.” Most of the messages are from orchestrated groups outside of New Hampshire, she said. 

“Twitter is the worst one,” Soule said.

“They get through to me about once a month. As I block them, I get fewer and fewer.”

 “Every once in a while I get an intelligent conversation,” Soule added. “They say, ‘It’s too bad they have to die.’ And I say, ‘It is too bad. But everything has a purpose.’ ”

Soule said she, too, is sad about every animal she kills for meat. But for a small operation like Miles Smith Farm, meat sales are integral to staying in business, and of course, they provide local food options for consumers. 

Soule also argued that, when done right, the humane slaughtering of animals is less stressful for that animal than giving it a shot or antibiotic. 

“We take them where they’re treated well,” she said. 

Soule told me that to pay respect to the animals her farm raises for meat, she is also dedicated to telling their stories.

“In my mind every single one of these pigs has a story – every pig in the universe,” she said.

“It’s important that we as carnivores understand that – I think it’s important we know the story of the animal we’re eating. That’s my mission – to translate.”

Soule, who shared that one of Pink 2.0’s siblings will be killed for a pig roast prepared by the Grappone Conference Center on July 2, added, “I try to be full disclosure on everything.”

Pink (2.0) Facts Week 19

Age: 18 weeks

Weight: 175 pounds

Cost at this point: Previous cost ($257.75) + bedding + labor + feed = $287.50

(This article is part of an ongoing, six-month project by Ag & Eats blogger and “Monitor” staffer Elodie Reed, who is documenting “Pink 2.0” to see how locally raised pork is cared for, processed and eventually, consumed. Have questions or Ag & Eats news tips, events or recipes? Reed can be reached at 369-3306,ereed@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @elodie_reed.)