My friends Broc Fullmer and Deanna Spann of Black Sheep Farms in Potter Valley California, donated one of their favorite Ossabaw Hogs named Josephine for a Slow Food dinner I attended. The dinner was in honor of the delegates who were chosen to go to the Slow Food convention in Turin Italy this past fall.
Ossabaw pigs are indigenous to Ossabaw Island, which is off the coast of Georgia. They were introduced to the Island by the Spanish explorers four hundred years ago. They are the only pigs in the United States that have never bred with any other domesticated or other breed of wild pig. Consequently they are the only pure breed of heritage pig on the continental United States. There are only a few breeding pairs of these animals on the mainland, and the only way you can get them is through the American Breeds Conservancy List.
Ossabaw Island can be a harsh place to live and these pigs have developed a genetic predisposition towards retaining a higher fat to meat ratio than any other hog. It was their way of surviving the lean times on the Island.
Josephine was served up fully roasted, with crackling crisp skin, on a platter and she was definately the star of the show.Its one more testament to the fact that these kinds of animals are imperative to preserve. If for no other reason than it was the best darn pig I have ever eaten.
I you want to learn more about where to find these animals and who is breeding them, simply type Ossabaw Pig into your computer and they will pop right up.
The theme of the evening, besides some good eating, was to acknowledge the wonderful work these farmers and artisans are doing. But more importantly, it was about how essential it is to save our indigenous species of plants and animals, not to mention our individual cultural heritages around the globe.
Science and technology is moving at such a rapid pace, it has virtually taken on a life of its own.We are at a crossroads and its going to be an interesting ride over the next few decades to see what happens.