Proof that you do well by doing good
By: Diana Foss (Jul 25, 2010)
I've been a very satisfied customer of TLC ranch for 4 or 5 years now. I first bought whole chickens when Jim would drive over to Los Gatos and sell them from the back of his truck. They were delicious birds, very meaty, and never watery.
Then I bought my first half pig. It was butchered by Willow Glen Meats and Smokehouse, which did a fine job, especially with the spicy Italian sausage. But it's the ham that my friends and family are still talking about years later. The best piece of meat I'd ever eaten in my life.
When it was all gone, I waited longingly for Jim and Rebecca to offer half pigs again. In the meantime, my CSA from Live Earth Farm started offered TLC Ranch eggs, and I was thrilled to be able to have them effortlessly delivered every week.
This year, I finally got my second pig. In the time since the first one, I've learned a bit more about butchering, so I jumped at the chance to have Loren Ozeki, "The RIb King," butcher my pig while I got to watch and kibbitz.
Loren and I spent an afternoon talking while he cut up my pork exactly the way I wanted it, providing cooking suggestions for each piece (and also exclaiming more that once what a beautiful half pig I had scored.) He then cured and smoked bacon, hocks, and another beautiful ham (which is waiting for a special occasion) and made chorizo and Italian sausage, which he hand-delivered to me when they were done. Everything I've had has been delicious.
Sure, it's a lot of meat. I have a chest freezer in my back porch, but I have to say that I wonder how I ever lived without it, since a half pig is not the only kind of food I bring into the house. But it's absolutely delicious. Further, echoing Tana's comment, I absolutely respect the animal I am eating. Every time I open the freezer to take out a piece, it is with gratitude and awareness that I am so fortunate to be doing so.
Visiting TLC Ranch has been a huge part in my relationship with them. Jim and Rebecca open their farm to visitors, because they are proud of what they're doing, and happy to share it. Seeing the pigs come running across the fields at the sight of Jim shows powerfully that these are happy animals that only have one bad day in their entire lives. And I trust Jim and Rebecca on that day.
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