ossabaw

est.2012

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WELCOME

We are dedicated to the preservation to the Ossabaw Island Pigs and their heritage. Our animals are raised free range on our farm, Island Creek Preserve, located in Middle Georgia.

Our closed breeding herds are registered with the American Large Breed Conservancy (ALBC). Ossabaw Island Pigs were originally introduced in what is now Georgia around 1539, 180 years before Georgia became the 13th Colony of what would become the United States of America.

Our mission is to keep our bloodline pure which remains successful through selective breeding of purebred animals. Over the past decade there has been a small handful of Ossabaw Island Pig farmers using this selective breeding to improve the breed without hybridizing. The specific characteristics we breed for are size, meat quality, temperament and litter size. This premium bloodline produces only a few hundred animals nationwide annually. Therefore, supply is limited. We monitor our herds closely but allow this natural genetic selection, which is one of the aspects that makes them so special, to dictate future breeding stock.



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Ossabaw Island Pig’s diet consists mostly of natural vegetation, soft mast (muscadines, scuppernongs) and hard mast (acrons etc). To round out their diet, at Island Creek Preserve, our pigs are fed a supplemental diet of brew grains from a local micro-brewery. Brew grains, are the by-product of the brew process normally destined for land-fills or composting. However, we are able to make our pigs even more sustainable by utilizing this by-product of the brew industry.

We make our Registered Ossabaw Island Pork available to fine restaurants and charcuteries, primarily here in the Atlanta area. We also have a limited supply of meat when available to the general public through our pre-sale and reservations program.

We invite you to take the opportunity to enjoy this scrumptious and historical pork.

 

ABOUT

Once we were introduced to the Ossabaw Island Pigs, we knew they were very special. We are excited to be able to offer Registered Ossabaw Island Pork from our free-ranging herd. The tender and tasty meat is sought after by select chefs and consumers seeking natural, superior quality farm-to-table foods.

These pigs are direct decedents of the famous Iberico pigs from Spain which are commonly referred to as “four legged Olive Trees” because their tasty fat is high in Oleic Acid, the same heart healthy fat found in Olive Oil.

Ossabaw Island Pigs arrived in Georgia from Spain with the Hernando DeSoto expedition in 1539 nearly 180 years before Georgia became the 13th Colony in 1722. These non-hybridized animals lived isolated on Ossabaw Island for nearly 500 years and todays genetically superior animals are a result of natural selection. Because their genetics are so strong, and we allow our animals to live free-range, the needs for any dietary supplements or medications is virtually non-existent.

Ossabaw Island Pigs are currently listed as critically endangered with the American Large Breed Conservancy. By creating a demand for this healthy and scrumptious meat we can continue to be stewards for these these very special animals found only in the United States.



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Products

Due to production levels and the demand for Ossabaw Island Pork in the Atlanta area, we are currently unable to offer products to the general public.

We hope to begin offering Registered Ossabaw Island Pork to the Georgia general public in the near future.  If you would like to get on a waiting list please contact us.  Please note, we will be contacting people on the waiting list in the order we receive requests.  Therefore, if interested, the sooner you contact us, the better.


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Pre-sale Reservations

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$234.00

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Lorem Ipsum
$125.00

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Impsom Dolor
$78.23

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OUR HERITAGE STOCK BREADER

For updates on Island Creek Farms and our family of Ossabaw Island Pigs, please visit our BLOG on this website

Mohawken

Mohawken

One of the premier boars known to the breed, Mowhaken passes along selective genetics for high shoulder, large body size, excellent temperament and increased litter size among his sows.

Centerpiece

Centerpiece

Centerpiece, our Matriarch,  embodies the desired characteristics of an Ossabaw Island sow.  Large body size, good temperament, large litters and excellent mothering skills

GoHawk

Gohawk

Gohawk also embodies the desired characteristics of an Ossabaw Island sow.  Large body size, high shoulders, good temperament, large litters and excellent mothering skills

Babys

Picasso, Vincent, Sweet Pea and The Professor

Out of Centerpiece and by Mr. Jackson, these four your Ossabaw Island pigs carry some of the best genetics known to the breed after years of “common Sense” animal husbandry

Sows

Ossabaw Sows

Ossabaw island pigs are very social, family oriented animals they prosper in free-range conditions.  Our sows are chosen to continue to develop the desired traits of the Ossabaw Island breed.

BLOG

A brief history…
In the 1520’s, while exploring and settling the new world, the Spanish had a significant presence in the southeastern United States in what is now Georgia and Florida.

One of their settlements, St. Catherine’s Island, was located on one of Georgia’s barrier islands south of what is now the Savannah River Outlet. When preparing provisions for the settlement, it was common to provide pigs as they are the only large farm animal that produces litters of fast growing offspring. However, one of the downfalls of such a prolific breeder .. and eater… is that they do pose a danger to community gardens. Therefore, it is assumed the settlers on St. Catherine’s chose to keep their pigs on neighboring Ossabaw Island.

As we have learned in our history books, the St. Catherine’s Settlement failed and the area abandoned. Also abandoned were the pigs released on Ossabaw Island. It would be natural to assume this was a small herd. Scientifically we would expect the population to die out after a few generations due to a lack of genetic diversity. But Mother Nature had a trick up her sleeve. Not only did this small group of pigs survive, but they began to thrive and adapt to their existence in their new found home in the New World.

Over time a few very interesting things happened. First, the pigs were isolated on the island and remained so for nearly 500 years never intermingling with other feral pigs surely to have been in the area from 150 years prior to colonization of America and up to today’s modern world. This isolation kept their strain pure. It’s quite amazing when you think about it. Second, the pigs adapted to seasonal forages on the island by developing a thrifty gene as well as developing insular dwarfism. The thrifty gene helps them to store plenty of fat during times of plenty for use when food is scarce and the Insular Dwarfism allowed them to reduce their size so more pigs could survive on the limited space of the island and each animal did not require quite as much food to survive. This unsaturated fat is high in Omega 3 Oleic acids, closer in chemical make up to olive oil than to animal lard. Finally, in order to take advantage of acorns produced by Live Oak trees found on hammocks lacking fresh water throughout the island, they adapted their bodies to allow them to drink the brackish tidal waters…. A sort of self-brining if you will.

In the 1920’s the West family bought the island. Over the years they donated young pigs from the island to places like Mt. Vernon, Colonial Williamsburg and George Washington’s Birthplace. The pigs from Ossabaw Island were preferred because they more closely resemble pigs of Colonial America than the modern pigs we are familiar with today. The Island has since been donated by the West family to the state of Georgia to be managed. Mrs. West lives there for the remainder of her life. However, no pigs are permitted to leave the island anymore. … Mrs. West, however, is allowed to leave.

Registered Ossabaw Island Sow at Island Creek Farms

Registered Ossabaw Island Sow at Island Creek Farms

Today, according to the Livestock Breeds Conservancy, the Ossabaw Island Pig, now classified as a heritage pork breed, is listed as critically endangered with far fewer than 2000 animals estimated to be on farms across the USA. Of these, less than 250 are registered. These pigs have also been linked directly, via DNA, to the now famous Iberico pigs of Spain. These Iberico pigs are highly sought after by the world’s top chefs. The Iberian pigs are also commonly known as Jamon Iberico and the Black Spanish Hog.

Island Creek Farms in middle Georgia is proud to have the largest known herd of Ossabaw Island pigs in existence. Our goal is to raise awareness and celebrate the heritage of this state treasure that could very well put Georgia on the world culinary map. To do so, we intend to raise the best tasting Ossabaw Island Pork for our chefs without compromising their natural feeds or a Ossabaw Island Pork environment. According to the feedback we have gotten from our chefs, their patrons and other sampling this fine pork, we are succeeding in our goal. Unfortunately, our supply cannot keep up with the demand and with so few animals in existence; Registered Ossabaw Island Pork will remain a specialty to those who have had the privilege to experience.

The biggest challenge is that Ossabaw Island Pigs take more than twice as long to mature as modern pigs raised for the consumer market. Given the exceptional taste of Registered Ossabaw Island Pork, the wait is well worth it. However, the challenge here is that the cost to raise these pigs to market weight by traditional farming methods is cost-prohibitive. For our project to make the Ossabaw Island Pig a celebrated heritage and a culinary treasure for the state of Georgia, we have gained the support of many, including several micro-breweries in Atlanta who donate the spent brew grains as feed for our pigs. These symbiotic relationships creates a win-win situation because, not only are our pigs raised free range, but they are also sustainable as the spent brew grains are a nutritious by-product of the breweries that would otherwise be discarded.

We hope one day you have the opportunity to enjoy our 16th century Georgia treasure prepared by 21st century culinary artisans.

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Q: What do cold beer and heritage pork have in common?

A: At Island Creek Farms they both take brew grains to finish out their flavor!

Whether you are a Bud Lite fan or prefer a Fresh Hops IPA from your local micro-brewery, your beer starts with a several hundred pounds of grain that is brewed with precision, drained and discarded.  … ok not “discarded” but no longer needed by the brewery.  After the initial brew and the soon-to-be-beer is drained and heads to the tanks to get that magic potion of sugar and yeast that ferments the brew to perfection.

The now “spent” brew grains are simply a by-product of the process. Emptied in to barrels to be removed from the brewery.  These grains are still high in protein and nutrients, but not a necessary part of the brew process any longer.

For centuries, there has been a symbiotic relationship between farmers and brewers.  Brewers don’t want all that wet grain stacking up and farmers see the value in it as a low-cost nutritious animal feed … or even compost.

But the federal government tried to stop all that.

in April, the FDA announced that this win-win relationship would fall under new rules introduced via the Food Safety Modernization Act and, long story short, would cost both parties heavily in the future.

The FDA had determined that in order for spent brew gains to be used as animal feed, it would have to go through a process, (just what we need… another “process”)  including drying in order to rendered it safe.   Why?  Food safety.  Yes, you see the practice that has been going on for centuries was no longer considered safe, although there ware no scientific finding to support their reasoning.  It is not known if the FDA ever considered the fact that animals are pretty good at determining whether their food is spoiled or not.   The cows interviewed declined to comment, but it was evident in the cud they were chewing that they thought the FDA had lost their marbles.

The result of this announcement… a good old-fashioned protest from thousands of brewers and farmers alike demanding that the FDA reconsider this proposed regulation.  Unlike most government decisions, the FDA actually reconsidered.

In response to the outcry from brewers and farmers nationwide the FDA clarified (a commonly used word at the FDA these days) that they had no intention to enact onerous regulations on brewers and that they will release a final decision regarding the debate later this summer.

So at least for now, your wallets are safe and breweries wont need to add a disposal fee to your next bottle of Bud.

Check out this link on the topic.

At Island Creek Farms, we raise Registered Ossabaw Island pigs along with  Narragansett Turkeys and Poulet de Bresse (Chickens) from France.  All of our animals are fed spent brew grains along with natural feeds in their free-range environments.   These animals love spend brew grains … when we arrive with our weekly load of somewhere between 1 and 3 tons based on the local Atlanta brew schedules, we are greeted by anxious welcoming committee waiting for their fair share of the spent grain goodies.

Ossabaw Island Pigs, initially brought to the new world including the Georgia barrier islands by Spanish Explorers and settlers in the early 1500′s, are direct decedents of the famous Jamon Iberico, also known as the Black Iberian pig or the Black Spanish Hog.   With less than 2000 known to exist off the island and less than 250 of these registered, the Ossabaw Island Pig is listed as critically endangered by the livestock breed conservancy.   Thanks to our friends in Atlanta at  5 Season Brewery, Slice and Pint, Twains and Red Brick Brewing, we have been able to acquire tons and tons of spent brew grains to offset the high feed costs and bring the cost of this delectable heritage pork into a price range for the consumer wanting to try this very uncommon… and hard to find… heritage pork.

Our goal is to raise the best tasting Ossabaw Island Pork for our chefs and butchers without compromising their natural feeds or a free-range environment.  However, this absolutely delicious heritage pork is slow growing and expensive to raise on regular feeds, not to mention that regular feeds, while natural and nutritious and a good supplement… are boring.

Interested in trying some Registered Ossabaw Island Pork?  Contact your local 5 Seasons here in Atlanta to see if it is on the menu this week.

Enjoy!

18 hour slow roasted Registered Ossabaw island Pork loin with peas, carrots, a demi glace and Hen of the Woods Mushrooms.

18 hour slow roasted Registered Ossabaw island Pork loin with peas, carrots, a demi glace and Hen of the Woods Mushrooms.

 

 

 

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As Americans become more health conscious, we are looking back at how are grand parents and great-grand parents ate and are revisiting some of those diets and cooking methods and actually healthier than a lot of the processed foods that dominate our diets today.

We are fortunate that our Registered Ossabaw Island Pork lard not only rendersclear as water, but is also high in Omega-3 Oleic Acids … similar to the chemical make-up of olive oil. A potentially heart-healthy lard… whoda thunk?

Check out this link from Modern Farmer.

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Fresh cut french-fried potatoes friend in Registered Ossabaw Island Pork lard.

Fresh cut french-fried potatoes friend in Registered Ossabaw Island Pork lard.

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Welcome to Hamthropolgy where Our goal is to raise the best tasting Ossabaw Island Pork for our chefs without compromising their natural feeds or a free-range environment.

Our heritage pork is raised for quality, not quantity. Our pigs are raised in a Silvo-pasturing system which provides them a free-range environment similar in climate and vegetation to their naturalized home on Ossabaw Island Georgia where they arrived around 1521 with the Spanish explorers and settlers. When the explorers left and the St. Catherine’s Island Settlement failed. Our pigs are raised in family groups, just as they would survive in on Ossabaw Island. Each family group of approximately 10 Gilts and sows for every dominant and secondary boars live in a 2-3 acre area free range woodland pastures. In addition to the natural forage throughout their free range environment, we supplement their feed with spent brew grains from the thriving Atlanta micro-brewery scene. These grains are high in protein and contribute to the excellent meat and fat these animals produce.

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Registered Ossabaw Island Pork is a Foodies dream. Critically endangered, only a handful of animals make it to local restaurants and Charcuterie shops in any given year. Naturally smaller than most pigs, Ossabaw Island Pigs are not an attractive breed for large scale pork producers… and that’s a good thing. In addition, Ossabaw Island Pigs take about twice as long to reach market weight that large scale production pigs. Rest assured, the wait for this exceptional free range pork is well worth it.

After nearly 500 years in isolation on Georgia’s barrier Island, these pigs from Spanish Iberico heritage, have developed their own unique place atop the list of heritage pork breeds. DNA tests confirm that these pigs are direct decedents of the famous Iberico pigs from Spain. These pigs are also known as Jamon Iberico, Black Iberian pigs and the Black Spanish Hog. Their tasty fat, which high in Omega 3 Oleic Acid (similar in chemical make up to olive oil), is a result of the Thrifty Gene developed during their years of isolation. This gene allows them to store fat during times of plenty for use during times of not-so-plenty.

There are no Ossabaw Island pigs outside of the continental United States. On Ossabaw Island, now overseen by the Georgia DNR, the pigs are considered feral and it is now illegal to remove any live animals without permission. Fortunately, there was a small number of animals off the island that were used as the seed stock for todays registry. These animals came from places like Mt. Vernon, Colonial Williamsburg and George Washington’s Birthplace where the Ossabaw Island Pig more closely resembles the pigs of Colonial America.

According to the Livestock Breeds Conservency, there are fewer than 250 registered Ossabaw Island Pigs and fewer than 2000 known to exist in the United States. Island Creek Farms, in middle Georgia, is the only known producers of the Bridge-Line Ossabaws. Bridge-Line Ossabaws are a line of Ossabaw Island Pigs bred for specific characteristics to improve disposition, productivity and yield. The Bridge-line stared over 20 generations ago by Byran Childress, an animal scientist whose specific intent was to improve the Ossabaw Island Pig into a special farm-to-table animal. With the exception of a small hobby breeder in the mid-Atlantic, there are no other breeders of the Bridge-Line Ossabaws and no other known breeders looking for specific traits in their animals and their meat.

If you ever have the chance to try Registered Ossabaw Island Pork, I assure you, you pallet with thank you.

CONTACT

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297A Jule Ingram Rd

Milledgeville, GA  31061

678-520-9000
Marc@Hamthropology.com
lydia@Hamthropology.com
Info@Hamthropology.com