La Quercia Acorn Edition II: Want to buy another pig?
Last fall I blogged about the acorn-finished pigs that La Quercia, the Iowa prosciutto makers, and organic pig farmer Jude Becker were raising and selling to chefs and restaurants across the country. While the prosciutto from last year's pigs won't be ready until next summer, La Quercia's Herb Eckhouse has already gotten glowing reports on the first deliveries — sausage, guanciale, coppa, pancetta and other items that require less curing time than the prosciutto. Eckhouse recently emailed that last year's project has been so successful that they're planning a second.
Acorn Edition II is now underway, with orders being taken for about 100 more Berkshire pigs — up from 50 in last year's inaugural group. The pigs go for $3,000 if you're a return customer, $3,200 if you're new to the pig subscription program. (Yup, that's really what it's called.) But they're going fast — Charlie Trotter just bought two, as did Nate Appleman of San Francisco's A16.
And for those mindful of this spring's catastrophic weather in the upper Midwest, Eckhouse says that they were lucky: The flooding only slowed down construction on La Quercia's expansion and soaked their basement. Becker said by phone that his farm was fortunate too; their corn crop was ruined, but "all the rain is creating a bumper crop of acorns." Becker reports that he's also enlisted his local Boy Scout troop, which turns a profit by harvesting the nuts and selling them to Becker. So not only will La Quercia's next round of charcuterie be made from Berkshire pigs finished on acorns — but acorns gathered by Iowa Boy Scouts. Wow. I hope they get a special badge for that, like in Italian.
— Amy Scattergood
Photo courtesy of Herb Eckhouse