Local farmer offering tours for the holiday season

·2 min read

A local farmer is showcasing her drove and invited folks to the farm just before the holidays with a new event.

Calling it Mistletoe and Swine, Christina Stender from Eh, Farms was excited to introduce folks to her red mangalitsa pigs.

“They are an old heritage breed of pig that comes from Hungary and we were the first ones to import them into Canada,” said Stender. “I just wanted to bring in some families from Strathmore and surrounding areas to come out (and) visit the pigs, Santa and Mrs. Claus were here and then we had some local artisans here.”

Stender imported her first gilt and boar in 2016. Five years later, she now has over 70 pigs in her care.

She added the primary reason she chose the particular breed is for one particular trait of the animal.

“The reason I chose the breed is how woolly they are. They’re one of the last breeds of pig to have a woolly coat,” Stender explained. “I always wanted pigs, so when I did my research, no one else in Canada had them so I thought there was an opportunity to bring them in, so we imported them from California.”

Stender refers to them as “the Kobe beef of pork” referencing the extremely high marbling of the pigs.

“They are a lard pig, so they are 70 per cent fat to meat ratio. They are renowned for charcuterie … it’s a dark red, very marbled meat,” she said.

Stender keeps three boars and six sows fully servicing for breeding and two litters per sow will be born every year. Each litter is between five and eight piglets, with a gestation period of three months, three weeks, three days.

When the piglets are born, Stender said she will spend the first three nights with them in the farrowing barn to ensure they are all nursing properly and to watch so that the sow doesn’t accidentally kill any of the litter, such as by laying on them.

Mistletoe and Swine isn’t the first event that’s been hosted at Eh, Farms, as the team regularly hosts an event they call Pig Stock – a Hungarian festival in the summer.

Though Mistletoe and Swine saw some immediate success, Stender said putting it together and attracting people was very different from her summer event.

“It’s a little different because people wait to the last minute, they want to wait and see how the weather is doing and it’s hard to get people out,” she said. “I would have liked to have a little bit of a bigger market, but with the rules and regulations around COVID-19, that didn’t allow us.”

Stender intends to repeat the event going forward, hoping to see more and more people and vendors come out to participate.

John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times

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