Ordering A Whole Pig
NOTE: AS OF 12/15/22, OUR NEXT AVAILABILITY FOR HALVES AND WHOLES WILL BE IN SPRING 2023
Want a lot of pork? We can do half and whole hogs! We have two ways to do it -- either by selecting a bundle of pre-selected cuts with a guaranteed minimum quantity of pork, or by having a whole pig custom cut. Regardless of which route you take, you will usually need to place a deposit several months in advance.
The easiest way to get a lot of pork is to choose one of our bundles -- we choose our most popular cuts for you, assembled from pigs we have taken to our regular processor, DeVries Meats. We are usually able to provide a bundle of cuts sooner, and can guarantee the price and the minimum weight. Some substitutions are possible, but may result in a different price. Sausage can be substituted for most parts (since sausage can be made from any part of the animal); link sausage can be substituted for bulk sausage for a $1/pack fee. Other substitutions can be made if they come from the same part of the pig (e.g., boneless loin chops instead of bone-in), but substitutions of one region for another are not possible (for example, we can't do extra chops instead of shoulder).
Custom Cut Hogs (Whole Pigs only)
Having a whole pig custom cut to your specifications will cost $4.25/lb hanging weight plus the cost of processing. We usually send pigs to butcher when they are 250-300 pounds live weight. At that size, a heritage breed pig will have a dressed weight (a.k.a. “hanging weight,” which means the weight of the pig on the rail once slaughtered and gutted) of 165-200 lbs and produce 100-125 pounds of meaty cuts; the rest is skin, bones, and organs (some of which can also be requested from the processor if you so desire). Depending on the size of the pig and the amount of smoking and sausage options you choose, a whole will generally cost about $1000 -- see the pricing example at the bottom of this page.
More Info About Getting Your Half or Whole
Deposits and Pricing: You contact us to reserve, and put down a deposit ($75 for a quarter, $150 for a half, $300 for a whole) to hold your reservation. We will provide you with an estimate of delivery date and cost when you put down your deposit. However, we are experiencing rapid increases in feed and processing costs and cannot guarantee that the price quoted will remain the same. In the event that the price increases more than 5% over your quote, you will have the option to cancel your order and have your deposit refunded.
Lead Time: We recommend that you contact us at least 3 months in advance. Quarter pig shares may be available sooner. In general, we try to time our production so that most pigs are going to butcher between August and December, so that they can get plenty of pasture-foraged food while they grow. If you are getting a pig custom cut, you may have a longer wait.
Cut Selection: You may be able to have some substitutions (e.g., shoulder steaks instead of Boston Butt roast) for half and whole pig bundles; please inquire before purchase if interested. For custom cut pigs, we will guide you through the process of selecting cuts before your pig goes to the butcher.
Transport and Pick Up: We transport your pig to the butcher, along with other pigs from our herd that are at market weight. Processing generally takes 10-15 business days, which allows time for bacon and ham to cure. (Uncured cuts will be shrink wrapped and flash frozen while bacon and ham are cured and smoked.) In most cases, we pick your cuts up for you at a time that is compatible with our schedule. If you need your cuts sooner, if you want your meat unfrozen, or if yours is the only pig we are transporting to the butcher then you will pick the cuts up yourself directly from the processor yourself.
Our Processors: For quarter, half, and whole bundles, we take our pigs to USDA Inspected processors. Our main processor is DeVries Meats in Coopersville -- they are far away, but do great quality cutting, great vac sealing of cuts, and often have appointments available only a few months out. Pork processed as USDA Inspected can be used for resale, in restaurants, or at events where guests are paying for their food. If you are having a whole pig custom processed, it can also go to DeVries and be processed by same butchers, or it can go to one of several Custom Exempt butchers (i.e., butchers that are not inspected by the government, and that process pigs only for their owners' non retail use). For custom exempt butchery, we recommend Sage's Meats in Greenville because of their great sausage options and quality packaging; however, there are many options closer to SE Michigan -- the choice will depend on your needs, appointment availability, and transportation.
Whole Pig Pricing Example
Whole pig cost breakdown (based on anticipated hanging weight of 180 lbs, which should yield 130 lbs of retail cuts)
$4.25 x 180 lbs to us: $765 fee paid to Flight Path Farm
Processor fees assuming a “typical” processing with mostly fresh cuts, all belly and one ham smoked, and trim plus one ham for sausage: roughly $225 paid to processor
Kill & Waste Disposal Fees: $50-$65 (fees are higher for larger pigs)
Cut and Wrap Fee: $0.60-$0.75/lb hanging weight, additional fee for deboning (roughly $125)
Cure and Smoke Fee $0.70-$1.70/lb standard cure or $1.10-$1.95/lb natural cure (roughly $35, assuming 50 lbs standard ham/bacon)
Sausage: $1-2/lb for bratwurst lings, $0.20-$0.25/lb for bulk ($10, assuming 40 lbs bulk sausage)
Total Cost: About $990 (a 5-15% saving versus buying by the cut, depending on if you take back oddments)
Note -- Each processor has their own method for butchering and their own pricing for slaughter, cut and wrap, sausage making, smoking, and return of bones/fat/organs; thus the same pig will have a different cost depending on the processor it goes to
Processors differ in whether or not they skin or scald and scrape pigs, whether offer all-natural cure for smoked meats, flavors of sausage offered, and the minimum quantity needed to make a flavored sausage