Poul and Carla Nielsen, farmers and owners at our pork supplier, HindsholmGrisen, see education as a matter of transparency and translating values.
Posted on 16 July, 2019
The five-night adventure will explore sustainable pig production and organic farming, hosted at their picturesque family farm, Hestehøjgaard, where the happiest pigs on earth run free, grazing with gleeful abandon.
Participants will be able to learn the basics of sustainable pig production, take part in butchery workshops, forage in the local countryside and learn about the history of Danish animal production. They will be guided by Poul and Carla, plus the team from Terroir Hospitality.
HindsholmGrisen produce the highest quality pork for Denmark’s top chefs and restaurants, including BÆST where it is used to make our charcuterie. Together with three employees they raise, feed, slaughter, butcher and produce products entirely onsite. Poul, Carla and the team have the greatest respect for their animals, something we have witnessed first-hand.
Life (and death) in the field
HindsholmGrisen pigs spend every day of their lives in a field, even their last: their hooves never touch concrete and they are killed on the same land they were born on.
Poul slaughters the pigs in the field, using electric bolts to stun and finally kill them. This causes the least amount of stress to the pigs – it’s often transportation to slaughter houses that cause the most distress – and the pigs around them are completely unphased by the process. Poul has tried other methods and has found this to be the most peaceful way.
HindsholmGrisen pigs have at no point less than 200 m2 field to run around on and are put on new ground every year.
Animal welfare and health
HindsholmGrisen sows farrow about 7-8 piglets a year, all of whom are weaned naturally – which usually takes up to 17 weeks. This helps to prevent diarrhea, something that is typically treated with penicillin.
In commercial farming, penicillin is used to treat every animal, instead of targeting the sick individual, as the drug has a positive effect on growth. This has led to an increase in the consumption of antibiotics – ⅔ of the antibiotics used in Denmark are for livestock – and growing concerns around antimicrobial resistance.
At HindsholmGrisen there isn’t any medicine like penicillin on the farm. The vet is called in case of sickness and if a pig is treated, it is marked so it can always be traced. The pigs are healthy and fit because of the naturally slow way they are raised.
The pigs find much of their feed on their own, eating grass, roots, worms, snails, beetles and a lot more. They’re fed exclusively with 100% traceable organic feed – Poul actually grows a lot of his own crops specifically for the pigs. During the colder months they’re also fed with seaweed. HindsholmGrisen pigs are fed barley, rye, oats, peas, lupins and fava beans – never soy. Natural feed and lots of exercise means the pigs grow very slowly. It takes at least a year for the pigs to be ready for slaughter, which is twice as long as normal.
As you can see, the rearing and slaughtering of pigs it is not a job they take lightly.
If the sight of a pig being slaughtered no longer affects you, you should not be doing itPoul Nielsen
Practical Course Information
If you work in the food and hospitality industry, or are passionate about sustainable meat production, we cannot recommend this experience enough. This hands-on adventure will allow you to try firsthand:
- Learn the basics of animal husbandry and sustainable pig production.
- Tend and care for the pigs
- Butchery workshops from master producer, understanding the processing methods unique to Denmark.
- Sausage making and smoking techniques.
- Foraging the local countryside along with exploration of the native orchards.
- Lessons in history and archeology of the land and how farming has evolved over the centuries.
- A visit to the old town to see how the Danish have lived for 1000 years in Funen.
- Explore the peninsula and an organic plant nursery.
- Visit a 5000 year old burial mound and watch the sunset.
If you are interested in attending, please contact below.