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Crystal Creek Farms American Mulefoot Pigs

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     Mulefoots are named so because their hooves are not cloven like most pigs but resemble more the hooves of a mule. They are primarily black in color though occassionally on may be found with white spots. they are quite large pigs, and full grown males can reach 600lbs. They are also a rare breed, with fewer than 500 believed to be in existence. The Mulefoot has a very gentle nature, and were at one time considered to be the highest quality of "ham-hog".

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Ten thousand years or so ago, humans partnered up with denizens of the animal kingdom to create the world’s first domesticated livestock.

Since then, thousands upon thousands of types and breeds of poultry and farm animals have evolved through natural and human selection, all tailor-made to suit the needs of the people who kept them and the climate and conditions in which they lived.
 
Now they’re disappearing from the earth at an alarming rate and it’s up to dedicated conservators to save them.

 
Large corporations maintain factory farmed livestock in controlled environments (eliminating a need for breeds adapted to various regions or climates); they control their animals’ “health” through liberal doses of antibiotic cocktails (quashing the need for disease-resistant heritage strains); and they feed their unfortunate victims exacting rations of high-protein, growth-hormone enhanced feed so they reach market size in record time.

 
The result: a bountiful supply of cheap, essentially tasteless, hormone- and antibiotic-laced milk or meat produced at the cost of the animals’ health and well being.

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Fortunately, growing legions of farmers are stepping forth to reclaim our forbearers’ heritage livestock and poultry breeds. This rare-breed renaissance is occurring throughout the world and for numerous reasons.

 
“Consider CPL hog breeds like Guinea Hogs and Mulefoot pigs. These are heritage breeds ideally suited to the South where their dark skin pigmentation protects them from the sun’s harmful UV rays.”

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In the old days, pigs not only furnished pork for the dinner table, in the winter they were fenced on the family’s garden spot where they tilled the earth with their snouts—an important service when garden produce meant life. They were hardy pigs, easy keepers that foraged for meals in the woods. Shelter needs were negligible; they virtually raised themselves. The Mulefoot has retained its ability to forage well.
 
“Critically rare breeds are not always readily available ... a byproduct of being ‘rare.’ These animals are maintained in small herds, so breeder-quality stock isn’t always available for immediate purchase. Have patience. Network with other breeders and expect to follow some blind leads. And know what will happen to your animals when you stop breeding. Make sure your heirs know how precious they are and keep in touch with other responsible conservators who can take them in an emergency.”

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What sets mulefoot hogs apart from all the other American pigs is their type. You see, back in the day pigs were classified by their type - rangy, meat type or lard type.  Lard type pigs had short legs and short bodies and could be made incredibly fat, back when lard was still used for all sorts of industrial processes as well as being the dominant cooking oil. Meat type hogs fell somewhere in the middle and were selected for large hams and shoulders.

The Mulefoot breed is the only full size American lard type hog left.

A few links:

The American Mulefoot Hog Association

The Whole Hog Project

Mulefoot Pig You Tube Videos

Mulefoot Pig Web Forum - Forum Circle

Yahoo! Mulefoot Web Group

Mulefoots do great on pasture, foraging for a good portion of their diets. We love that mulefoots are incredibly cold tolerant and can often be found digging in a snowbank somewhere while the other pigs huddle in their shelters on a cold, wintery day. And mulefoots are totally adapted to living outdoors in simple shelters with few health problems. They are gentle, hardy, easy to fatten and easy to raise, making them the quintessential “raise on pasture” pig.

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We have purebred AMHA registered Mulefoots available. To purchase or reserve contact us or  mail in printer friendly reservation form HERE.
 
Help preserve this breed on the brink of extinction! We have doubled the herd size in the past years. Every breeding pair is important!

The mulefoot hogs will grow lean meat when fed a low calorie diet of pasture with some whey and when fed liberally will easily put on backfat, so they allow us to have it either way.

We are members of and all of our stock are registered with The American Mulefoot Hog Association.

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Pork backfat is a unique cut of meat that can be heated without all of the fat rendering out. It is what allows a sausage to retain it’s juiciness when cooked. It is what allows a pate to be creamy but not oily. Modern breeds of pig have been bred specifically not to produce this cut of pork which is so crucial to great charcuterie. When fed a full grain ration they will very efficiently convert it to lean meat.
 
Mulefoot Wins Blind Taste Test!
on January 26, 2009, more than 90 food professionals, chefs, food writers, and food connoisseurs converged at Ayrshire Farm in Upperville, VA, to participate in a blind-tasting which compared pork from eight rare heritage hog breeds and one commercially line.

This so-called Pig Pageant was sponsored by the American Livestock Breeds ConservancyHumane Farm Animal CareSlow Food U.S.A. , and Ayrshire Farm, an eclectic group of organizations and individuals committed to saving heritage genetics, promoting a saner animal production paradigm and bringing flavor back to the table.

The pig breeds in question evolved to fit various regional and farming practices and some are known for producing plenty of lard, while others are naturally lean. For example, the Tamworth is a lean grazing pig shaped to produce plenty of bacon, while the Ossabaw Island is a feral breed that stores large amounts of fat for winter survival.

 
Once the results were tallied, the Mulefoot was on top, but with the exception of the Large Black, all heritage hogs out tasted the commercial breed. The specific results were as follows:
1. Mulefoot
2. Gloucestershire Old Spot
3. Red Wattle
4. In a tie: Tamworth and Guinea
5. Hereford
6. In a tie: Ossabaw Island and commercial
7. Large Black
    According to Ayrshire Farm’s Large Livestock Manager, Don Schrider, this event was the largest comparison of pork breeds in North America to date and it successfully demonstrated that each of the breeds is valuable for the unique culinary experience it offers.
   Special thanks go out to the farms that supplied the meat. If you are in the market for some awesome pork, or foundation herd stock for a swine project of your own, be sure to check out what these folks have to offer.

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Crystal Creek Farm * Tommy & Leanna Clair * Ash Grove MO * US * 417-751-2505 * tlc_homesteaders@earthlink.net

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