Surrounded by a large oak forest, Earth Ridge Farm in Renick, WV is an ideal place for raising pigs. Greenbrier Valley native Justin Lewis has been farming for four years and owns and operates the farm. He tells us, “I started out interested in the preservation and selling of quality breeding stock and feeder pigs.”
He raises critically endangered and rare breeds of swine. Some (but certainly not all) of the breeds found on the farm include the slow growing Ossabaw Island Hog, Gloucestershire Old Spots, which is one of his best selling pigs, and the Mangalista. Mangalitsas, which are not your ordinary pink pig but have curly and long coarse hair, somewhat like sheep. This breed is said to be the “Kobe beef of pork”.
“They really are a specialty product,” says Justin.
Justin’s pigs have been sold to farms all over the country. He experiments to create a unique cross between the breeds he raises and if you have never eaten heritage, pastured pork (of any breed), you are in for a treat. They are slower growing with marbled fat, tender meat, and more flavor. Chops, roast, and even pork belly are sure to impress even the pickiest of dinner guests.
The farm is diversifying this year with the addition of a high tunnel and a vegetable garden. Together with the help of his cousin, Will Lewis, Justin plans to sell vegetables at market and area restaurants. Earth Ridge has breeding stock, half, and whole hogs for sale. You can find pork by the cut at the Greenbrier Valley Farmers’ Market on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Products are also for sale in at Health Smart in Lewisburg, WV and online at MonroeFarmMarket.com.
– Kim Forte. LBSPY #66, June 2015