This week in the meat case you’ll find a sausage that celebrates the arrival of two things we’re pretty excited about here at The Local Butcher Shop; the first of the season’s green garlic and pork from Lone Willow Ranch. We had the opportunity to visit Lone Willow with many  of the staff last spring where we saw happy piglets suckling their mamas and full-grown pigs grazing bright green pasture.

Farmer John Teixeira and his wife Shelby breed and raise crosses of Tamworth and Berkshire hogs on their ranch in Firebaugh along the San Joaquin river. The livestock play an important role in maintaining the health of the land at Lone Willow. Rich soil is nurtured by microbial composting, rotation and cover crops. Some of these crops are the grains that, once soaked in whey (a bi-product of cheese Shelby makes from their herd of dairy goats), become supplementary feed for the pigs.

Because John is careful to limit the number of animals he raises to what the land can healthily sustain, his small operation can only supply us with pork from time to time. The quality of the Lone Willow pork is outstanding and the taste reflects the richness of the land the animals are raised on. We think it needs little more than salt, pepper, and when the season is right, some fresh green garlic.

(photos by Brad Thomason and Monica Rocchino)