Local Farm: Briar Rock Farm in Sullivan, Missouri
By far the smallest breed raised in the Midwest, American Guinea Hogs were on the verge of extinction just a decade ago, with fewer than 150 accounted for in the U.S. The breed’s relatively small size – about 125 to 250 pounds at the largest – makes it ideal for family farms. “Guinea hogs are much gentler and easier to handle,” says Ethan Joyce of Briar Rock Farm in Sullivan, Missouri. “The taste is fantastic. The fat’s really soft and well-marbled throughout, so it keeps it really moist; you can cook this pork to more doneness than others without it becoming dried out.” Compared to other heritage breeds, farmers can get a relatively high yield from American Guinea Hogs, although Joyce cautions that they require fencing that's lower to the ground than larger pigs. “The good farms y’re a bit of an escape artist,” he says with a laugh.
Briar Rock Farm products are sold on a limited basis through the farm's online store. Check its website or Facebook page (facebook.com/briarrockfarm and briarrockfarm.com) for availability announcements.