Uproot Ashland Heritage Pig Farm
If, like us, you’re a farmers market shopper, then eating locally produced products and knowing where your food comes from is important to you. Here in Southern Oregon, the opportunities to get up close and personal to our food sources is easy. From countless farmstands found on our lovely country roads to bustling farmers markets in virtually every community, as well as retail merchants committed to highlighting locally grown or produced products, Southern Oregonians have no trouble adhering to a ‘shop local’ protocol where much of their produce is concerned.
But we don’t indulge in delicious, seasonal, locally produced food because it’s easy, we do it because it matters. As consumers we sometimes neglect to realize that behind those products are people acting according to a principle; something the farmer has roiling inside that compels them to do things the right way, the sustainable way. A meaningful way. Really, these people are our food heros. Without them, we’d all be eating the food equivalent of cardboard.
Meet Krista Vegter and Sonia Consani of Uproot Ashland, a heritage free-range pig farm located in the lush foothills of Jackson County, offering direct-to-consumer USDA cut and wrapped pork.
Krista, whose background is in Environmental Studies, and Sonia, a trained chef, brought their combined passions to this sustainably operated farm, placing their shared principles soundly at the center: sustainability, local sourcing, humane treatment.
“We are an all female-run, solar-powered operation who take sustainability and working with mother nature into every decision and action on a daily basis,” says Krista. “We source our grain from a local brewery in Ashland, less than a couple miles away from our farm. We process on site for private families and work with local butchers, avoiding excessive and unnecessary fuel usage, and use our biodiesel van for operational deliveries.”
According to Krista, heritage breeds raised in a free-range fashion means everything to the end product.
“Free ranged means they get to roam around and root, a natural instinctive and curious behavior that allows their muscles to fully develop and provide our customers with vitamins lacking in the American diet today such as vitamin B, omegas, and niacin,” she says.
To be considered a Heritage Breed, the pigs must be a true genetic breed, and must have been or currently be endangered, and have a history of continuous breeding in the United States since 1925.
“Many of the Heritage Breeds we have are threatened species. Such lines are the Red Wattle, Large Black, and Tamworth,” Krista says.
Proper care for their animals, and giving them the ability to live their lives as nature intended is at the core of their farming values, and Krista makes the point that “having gone through an environmental studies program in California I had become aware of the cruel and poor living conditions of the animals raised in the commercial meat industry.”
Available in 10 pound boxes, 50 pound packages, or as whole hog purchases, the end product is a far more succulent, flavorful, and nutritious meat than what you’ll find in any regular grocery store. Just try asking your store’s butcher where their pork comes from, and you’ll likely get a response that sounds something like, “Kansas maybe?”
So shop local. Because when it comes to pork, now you can!