472c About Town: Fudge Family Farms
October 31, 2017 Fudge Family Farms

Fat, Full and Feeling Good

Why is that a good thing?

Because Mr. Fudge himself has shared some family secrets to getting the best pork in town.

Fudge Family Farms is a group of small farmers raising special hogs naturally. All the hogs are raised outdoors without any antibiotics or artificial hormones. Additionally, they are fed Non GMO feed whenever possible. While there are now quite a few folks raising hogs like this, these hogs are unique.

Henry Fudge, who assembled this group of farmers beginning over ten years ago, brought a special ingredient. You see, back in 1970 he met an old Duroc breeder, Mr. James F. Gray of Belvidere, TN who had been raising this special breed since 1914. Mr. Gray challenged Henry to “take up the mantle” of preserving the old type of hog that Mr. Gray believed was superior in many ways to the modern swine that are common today. Henry accepted the challenge, and by 1995 had developed a line of old type Durocs that were totally different. Perhaps the biggest difference, other than being perfectly adapted for growing naturally outdoors, was their meat quality.
Image Image

The fat from these hogs is healthier than that of modern swine, having a higher percentage of mono-unsaturated fat, the kind found in olive oil. This fat is highly prized by top chefs, such as Chris Hastings of Hot and Hot Fish Club in Birmingham, because it makes the finest pastries possible. But perhaps the most striking advantage of this old Duroc is the marbling, or intramuscular fat, in the chops. These chops have over twice the marbling of the next closest breeds available today. Many chefs call it “Kobe Pork”!

The one draw back of this rare line is the fact that they have been so tightly line bred for so many years. This suppresses their natural ability to grow rapidly to market weight. To offset this disadvantage, Henry has his farmers cross the Duroc with other old type breeds. Over the last 15 years he has experimented with many different crosses, looking for the perfect hog. He finally discovered the perfect “other breed”. This is a rare strain of old type Hampshires. Henry is using this cross to develop an entirely new breed, known as the Porkmaster. This new breed has the extreme marbling of the old Duroc line with intramuscular fat in the 12%-15% range. As a point of reference, beef only has to contain 6.5% in order to grade as prime! The females from this new breed are prolific mothers, raising an average of ten pigs per litter. These pigs are extremely fast growing, with the capability to reach a market weight of 300 pounds in less than seven months.

As the other farmers in the Fudge Family Farms coalition gradually shift their genetics over to the new breed you will find that the finest pork being served in the Birmingham area just got even better!