As our club continues to grow, so does the network of farms we source from. We thought we would take a moment to feature one of the farms that has been with us since day one, and also happens to be in the family (farmer Bruce is Grace’s uncle!). Our long time club members are familiar with Winfield Farm bacon, ground pork, pork chops, roasts, and occasionally leaf lard (when Bruce is kind enough to render it for us!).
ABOUT WINFIELD FARM
Bruce Steele single-handedly raises his entire Mangalitsa herd at his home & farm in Buellton, California. From birth to harvest, Winfield Mangalitsas are given the utmost respect, individualized care, and the attention they deserve.
Mangalitsa wooly pigs, a rare heritage breed, were prized by Austro-Hungarian nobility in the 19th century for the tender texture and ruby-red color of the meat, with a high fat content enhancing robust flavor. Mangalitsa were bred to enhance their fat content –– they were called black-footed lard hogs. When the fashion of the day turned to lean meat, Mangalitsas faced the brink of extinction. In the early 1990s, only about 90 Mangas survived worldwide. But Spanish charcutiers, seeking a replacement for the famed Iberian pigs, renown for the best prosciutto but in short supply, rediscovered Mangalitsa.
Raised entirely on pasture, Winfield Farm Mangalitsas are never given antibiotics or GMO Feed. These pigs are fed barley and organically grown pumpkins and squash grown on the farm. All pigs going to market are finished on acorns, walnuts, and almonds when available – a diet almost identical to the famed Spanish “Pata Negra” pigs know for their famous “Jamon Iberico de Bellota”.
Mangalitsa fat is mostly monounsaturated and high in omega 3 fatty acids, unlike fat found in commodity pork or other animal fats. Mangalitsa fat and bacon taste much lighter, and melts at a lower temperature. Mangalitsa fat is better for you and keeps longer due to its high levels of oleic acid. Not only is it highly desired for charcuterie, pastry chefs clamor for the leaf lard derived from Mangalitsas, which is the silky magic ingredient for the flakiest pie crusts. Former New York Times food critic Ruth Reichl called it “the single best pastry fat I’ve ever found.”
Rendered lard can be used as a healthy alternative to highly processed and hard to digest seed oils. According to research (Nutritional Quality of Pork Produced by Mangalitsa Breed, Eleonora Nistor et al) ... “Pork lipids are an important source of conjugated linoleic acid, which in light of recent studies can provide protection against some forms of cancer and heart disease because of its antioxidant properties. Pork is an excellent source of vitamins and trace elements, ensuring between 10% (pantothenic acid) and 65% (for thiamine – vitamin B1) of daily recommended dose. It is also an excellent source of pyridoxine, cyanocobalamin, biotin, and niacin – soluble vitamins necessary for healthy metabolism.”
Its high flash-point and buttery flavor make it ideal for sautéing vegetables, scrambled and fried eggs, roasting potatoes and even for the most delicious fried chicken you’ve ever tasted. Some Manga lard purists will even spread it on crusty country bread with a sprinkle of sea salt for the ultimate lard-lovers experience. Basically anyway you would use vegetable cooking oils, Mangalitsa lard is just better to use, for flavor and for your health. Rendered lard is totally shelf stable, but we recommend storing it in an air-tight container in your refrigerator for up to a year.