ABOUT OUR MULTI-GENERATION FARM
The Glendower Farms swine operation is part of one of Florida’s oldest family farms. It was established in 1839 and is now in its eighth generation. Though pigs have frequently played a significant role in the production heritage of the diversified family farm, the growing of Iberian pigs is a new enterprise introduced in 2015 by Hines Boyd. Hines, who holds a PhD in agriculture from the University of Florida and has spent much of his career in agricultural development and management, helped some Spanish investors make the first U.S. import of Iberian pigs since the Spanish colonial days. Twenty bred sows from that 2014 import soon made their way to Glendower Farms. By 2018, the Glendower Farms herd had grown to more than 700 pigs and is one of the very few purebred Iberian pig herds in the U.S.
The production of Iberian pigs at Glendower Farms quickly became a multi-generation family farming operation with most of the day-to-day management and labor provided by three generations of family members. The Boyd grandchildren, who are home schooled on the farm by their mother, do much of the daily hand feeding of the pigs and assist with routine chores with help from their parents. Hines still spends a lot of his time on the farm managing the pasture and breeding programs and participating in daily operations.
ABOUT OUR PASTURING PRODUCTION SYSTEM
The Iberian pig thrives in an outdoor environment. And for centuries that’s the way they’ve been raised in Spain, where they are prized for their acorn-fed cured ham and tasty, marbled meat. At Glendower Farms, our production occurs totally outdoors in cultivated pastures and woodland edges. Here our pigs can express all of their natural instincts. They explore, they root, they wallow, they nap, and they graze—a lot—on high quality seasonal forages like oats, ryegrass, clover, and millet. While on pasture, our pigs are supplemented with a grower ration of non-GMO grains (like wheat) and high-oleic sunflowers. The sunflowers add protein and the healthy fatty acids we want to see in our meat. Depending on the season and land availability, we try to finish as many pigs as possible for at least 90 days on acorn-rich oak forests, the traditional Spanish finish for which these special pigs have been bred for hundreds of years.
This outdoor growing system is both humane and environmentally friendly. It is a stark contrast to the confinement operations in which most modern pigs are grown. Furthermore, the pigs used in these factory-style systems have been bred to have lots of piglets (11 to 13 pigs per litter) and to grow fast, reaching slaughter weights in 7 to 8 months. Iberian pigs are the ultimate “slow food.” Sows usually wean 5 to 7 pigs per litter. The piglets are grown much slower on a restricted diet and typically reach slaughter weights in 12 to 15 months. It’s a slow and expensive way to raise pigs. But we think the end product is worth it.
ABOUT OUR MEAT CHARACTERISTICS AND QUALITY
“Wow! Are you sure this is pork?” That’s what we want our customers to say when they taste our meat for the first time. No pig breed marbles better than the Iberian pig. It’s the marbling that makes the meat juicy and full of flavor. Furthermore, the breed has a tendency to produce a healthier intramuscular fat (marbling) that is very high in oleic and other healthy essential fatty acids, especially when pastured and fed the right ingredients. (The Spaniards frequently refer to Iberian pigs as “olive trees on legs.”) When well raised, the pig produces a rich red meat—a combination of genetics, proper feed, and the exercise they get while grazing and exploring. The high quality grazing we offer our pigs also contributes to higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids, alpha-tocopherol (Vitamin E) and other anti-oxidants in the meat. Omega-3 fatty acids, for example, may be 4 times the levels found in factory raised modern breeds.
Our goal at Glendower Farms is to produce a meat that is not only juicy, flavorful, and easy to cook with, but healthy—an unsurpassed meat-eating experience that you can enjoy without a hint of guilt. We call it the ULTIMATE MEAT.