Walter Jeffries

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since Nov 21, 2010
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Recent posts by Walter Jeffries

Me: The whole pies things is confusing and odd.
I would just as soon not get emails about apples and pies.
Don't know if there is a way you can set that in preferences.

a volunteer: If you log in to your permies account and go to "my profile" at the top, you can choose which emails you get.

Me: Hmm... I just checked and I already have email about apples turned off.

a volunteer: That's interesting.  I'm not sure how to fix that. You could start a thread in the Tinkering Forum which will reach the senior staff and the people who fix things.

Me: So, here I am. Not a huge deal but it would be nice to turn off the apple and pie notifications and they mean nothing to me. I am not motivated by the apples and pies and don't use them.

-Walter Jeffries
in Vermont

Walter, I am still interrested to know what is the curing process you use, if this is not fermentation.... I donot think that nitrates salts were used "before". But fermenting like the french saucisson, or whole ham, could be done only with certain weather features. Where I live, people used only salt, because the climate is maritime.

Did you read the article I linked to at the top of this thread? That explains it. This is not fermentation.
5 years ago
I'm a bit dubious of anything from Weston Price as I've seen too much garbage come out of there. If I see them say too many things that I know are simply wrong then they lack credibility on the things they say where I don't know.
5 years ago

Stacy Witscher wrote:That book is very expensive. I'm curious why do you recommend that over other charcuterie books or for that matter other food science books. I have Charcuterie by Michael Ruhlman, forgive my spelling if it's wrong, and I have On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee, which is well regarded as the food science bible. I have done some curing of bacons, hams, sausages but have used nitrites/nitrates when called for. When I've tried uncured products I haven't liked the look or taste of them, what do you do to fix this, if anything?

Because it is very worth it. Buy used.
5 years ago

Xisca Nicolas wrote:Walter, I am very respectful about what you wrote in the pig forum, but for this, I need to check with you....
What is the real difference between cured and uncured? Is it about FERMENTATION?

No, it's not at all the same. Totally different processes. I would recommend the excellent book, "The Meat We Eat" for reading on the science.

Xisca Nicolas wrote:I have come across some informations about the NEED for pork to be fermented, or else there is a health hazard. By memory, I think it was about aggregation of something in the blood.... It could thus explain one of the real reason of pork prohibition in some societies... if they did not know how to transform this meat to be safe! So it seems it was not only about parasites!

That's bogus scare tactics by vegan/vegetarian/religious nut jobs. Ignore it. It has no scientific backing.

Cook your meat. USDA says 145°F in the center and then rest for 3 minutes for cuts and 165°F for ground. Pork same as beef, lamb, goat.

Xisca Nicolas wrote:Pork seems to become fully edible for us after fermenting, which is the case of cured meat, that you can keep out of the fridge.

Old style curing did make it safe to store hanging in the kitchen due to the lower water content (Aw) produced by salting and the heavy use of nitrates/nitrites.
Modern curing does not use that much salt or nitrates/nitrites. You would find the old style too salty I suspect.

Xisca Nicolas wrote:For eating the fresh meat, there is also a solution: marinade. Wine and vinegar are themselves fermented products...
I have no idea if lemon juice is ok, and I would be interrested to know this....
I have also no idea how long is enough marinade.

Changing the acidity, the pH, is one part of making shelf stable products. There is a lot of science behind this that I would strongly urge you learn before messing with it.

5 years ago

Annie Hope wrote:is there any evidence for a separate pen to encourage mating?

I have seen no such evidence in the research literature nor in my own experience with thousands of litters out on pasture. We keep them together and they seem to do very well like that. At unusual times we have separated to control farrowing due to an upcoming massive construction push like when we roofed over our butcher shop. Otherwise together is our rule of thumb and they seem happier for it as well as producing lots of piglets.
5 years ago
We did it! We just got our USDA Inspection today for our on-farm butcher shop here at Sugar Mountain Farm:

Tomorrow morning we cut our first pork under USDA inspection. It's been a long road and well worth it!

5 years ago

Ian Rule wrote:Essentially, as a fervent Permie, I signed up to take over pigs, ducks, chickens, greenhouse and gardens. Turns out, its a lot of work, and ingesting years of permaculture books, vids, and a solid PDC didnt quite prepare me to hit the ground running. Its a lot easier to dream than to do - especially when you have 20 different dreams that could all be respective lifetimes of exploration and fulltime work.

Welcome to the world of experience. You'll learn a lot as you do things. Make life into cycles that you can rinse and repeat, each time improving.

Ian Rule wrote:My biggest ongoing, unsolved issue has been the pigs. When I joined, there was one large male and a handful of grown ladies. After a season of nonstop pig pregnancies and nonstop litters of pigs, we had well over 20 pigs. We sold a few to other upcoming pasture operations, and have since killed and butchered one female; but I separated the (pubescent) males and females a few months ago. Not proud to utilize such a draconian tactic, but we simply could not handle the influx of piglets

It's a fine method of birth control. The reality is you only need about one breeding male per 15 or so breeding females. I figure that I cull to meat 95% of females and 99.5% or so of males. Culling hard is a good way to improve your herd genetics. Every lesser pig that you cull improves your herd. This is the lesson Mother Nature teaches. Evolution works. The trick is learning what to cull for.

Ian Rule wrote:Im unwilling to kill young pigs. Spend 10 years as a vegetarian and it leaves its marks.

There is a significant market for suckling and spit size roaster pigs. Anything from dressed weights of 20 to 150 lbs. We sell a lot of these. The small ones are high per pound ($6/lb) and there is a fixed slaughter fee so it makes small ones a luxury item. Not to be sniffed at.

Ian Rule wrote:I should also mention - these are not pastured pigs. They're in yucky pig pens that we do our best to maintain

Not ideal but in time you can shift to pasturing. We pasture about 100 breeders plus their offspring on about 70 acres of pasture. It is very worthwhile setting up the infrastructure and learning to do managed rotational grazing with the pigs. See: and start with the section on grazing. Click through to deeper articles. Read the comments too. See back articles in this discussion forum on permies. There is a lot of knowledge recorded here.

Ian Rule wrote:My reason for this cry for advice is a fear of Boar Taint - Ive read plenty on it, but its almost all anecdotal and often contradictory

Here is an article with a lot of science on the topic. We don't castrate. But getting there takes time. Fortunately 90% of boars don't have boar taint at slaughter age according to the research and if you do things right such as a high fiber diet and clean (pasture or clean pens) then the taint odds drop to 1% or so. See here for more info:

Segregation of males and females does not stop taint and exposure does not create taint based on my research.

Ian Rule wrote:Additional question - obviously I need to start castrating future litters, and I intend to. Can I mix the pubescent 1st year pigs that are still small once in the new paddocks? Should I cash out and have a vet castrate the >100lb fellas? I dont like keeping the gender division in place, but I dont want unmitigated piglets nor do I want to allow inbreeding. Sepp certainly doesnt seem to give it half a thought, but its been a madhouse for us in the pig pens. One of which we call The Madhouse

I would do the biopsy tests to figure out if you have an issue or not. See the article above.

Sugar Mountain Farm
in Vermont
6 years ago
This week we passed our USDA walk through for our on-farm butcher shop, the most recent big step in upgrading from Vermont state inspected to USDA inspected.
It's been a long journey of many steps. Details here:
6 years ago

Ron Metz wrote:Walter Jeffries suggesting a link to a place called the Pigsite

Aye, ThePigSite is focused on CAFO operations but I view all information as worthy of contemplation. You never know where you'll find gems.
6 years ago