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  • Writer's pictureDavid B Townsend

Pig Farmng in Nevada County

I live in Nevada County in the Sierra Foothills of California, where the farm to fork movement has gained so much strength in the past decade Sacramento has begun to call itself the Farm-to-Fork Capital. All this would not be possible without the small farms and ranches in several counties surrounding the SAC area including foothill farmers who support the growing trend in fresh, organic, sustainably raised food.

In addition to numerous wineries, there are more than a dozen produce farmers who supply grocers, restaurants and most offer fresh picked vegetables at the Farmer's Markets that take place all summer long. There are a handful cattle ranches also in Nevada County providing organic grass-fed beef to local co-op grocers and restaurants.

Recently, however, I discovered Cosmic Roots Ranch, a pig farm which raises a unique breed of pig; Heritage Mangalista Pigs* (pronounced mahn-ga-leets-ah) indigenous to Hungary. Its name means “hog with a lot of lard.” 'Cosmic Roots Ranch' is a farm about five miles out of Grass Valley city limits and in addition to produce and has fresh eggs from free-range hens they have a variety of pork products they make with the processing help of a couple of meat processors, one being Manas Ranch Custom Meats in Esparto, CA.

I went out to buy fresh eggs, as that was initially attracted me to the farm, as I'm an aficionado about Hollandaise Sauce and having fresh eggs is the only way for me. After picking my eggs, I asked about the Pork. Ellen, one of the owners, showed me the freezers full of ground pork sausage, bacon, ribs, liver, steaks, and other cuts as well as organ meats. Upon seeing all this deliciousness, I came home with a sample of Italian Ground Pork to try in my favorite Bolognese sauce.

Heritage Mangalista Pigs- Cosmic Roots Ranch, Grass Valley, CA
Heritage Mangalista Pigs- Cosmic Roots Ranch

As mentioned, there are dozens of local produce farms in Nevada County, and a couple grass-fed beef producers as well. It's great the area is developing into a diverse Ag region, with the Cosmic Roots Ranch producing these great Pork Products as well as Eggs, Seasonal Produce, and Lard based Soaps as well. Enjoy. Check out Cosmic Roots Ranch

* Meet the Mangalista, the Hairy Pig That’s the Kobe Beef of Pork

I am a Pinterest poster and follower, mostly to post my food photos and other interests. I saw a shot of an appetizer that intrigued me to try a small plate presentation of Grilled Shrimp with Sausage. So with fresh local ground pork in the refrigerator, I decided to try a similar photo shoot with the same two well-paired ingredients. Not only simple to make but very tasty as a quick pre-dinner bite.

I rolled the sausage into small balls and pre-cooked them to brown them. I did the same with the peeled shrimp, only to get them from a raw state. Then, after cooling, I assembled them with a skewer. Shrimp are surrounding the small meatball. When ready to serve, one places them on a grill or a cast cast-ironiron skillet to reheat, adding a bit of liquid of hot sauce and stock to keep them from sticking and adding a hint of spice. MY APPETIZER-SHRIMP & PORK

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