Monday, 19 September 2011

Apple Fed Pork

This year we expanded our pork operation from 16 pigs to 48. That's a lot of feed and a lot of hungry pigs! When our feed bills started rolling in I made a few calls to neighboring dairies and orchards and eventually set up a sweet deal taking the whey from a nationally renowned cheese maker and the windfall from a friendly, sustainable orchard.

The whey, that comes in buckets that we pick up every week and exchange with fresh clean buckets. The apples? We have to go pick them up....from the orchard floor. We pick up about 1000 pounds of apples every other week. Last year I was driving around asking door to door every time I saw a neglected apple tree. This is way easier. With two adults and three kids, it takes about 3 hours to fill the truck bed and the trailer. We could get more in a trip, I am working on how to stack bins inside the trailer to do that.

What I couldn't fit in bins the first run, I dumped in the truck bed.  HUGE mistake. Very hard to get them out. 

We wash the apples with a power washer to try and make sure no residues are left from any sprays that might have been used. The orchard uses very little, but we are extra careful anyway.

 What just floors me about this, as I am picking up the fallen apples, is this: food is being thrown away every day. There are adds in the paper for people who have fallen fruit in their yards, neglected berry bushes everywhere that just go to the birds. Commercial orchards hauling windfall to local landfills, dairies dumping buttermilk and whey in the road ditches. It may not be food for people, but it is still food. Usable food.

We cut our feed bills down quite a bit by doing this.

I know there are even more places doing this too. Where do you find free food for your family or livestock?