My husband, Darren, chose the breed. He was a contractor who wanted to make use of the huge barn that his grandfather built from wood milled on our property. We had chickens and a bull (and my horses). He wanted to use the barn before it just fell. Use keeps everything young and fit. About the same time, he was reading a Hobby Farms magazine. It had an article about heritage hog breeds. He read the descriptions and decided that he liked the Large Black best and began researching. I was pregnant and it was very important that our pigs were not crazy and wouldn’t eat the baby. We had previously raised pink pigs who were dumbed than a box of rocks. We were very interested in having a pasture-based system; it seemed that the Large Blacks would be the best choice. We wanted to also utilize the 40 acres of pasture that we had. I guess you could say we were looking to do the Locavore or back to the land movement. Although the land is his ancestral home and he had been here most of his life, it had not been used for anything other than CRP for more than 20 years. After we married in 2006, we started looking into ways to get the farm to pay for itself. Large Blacks were it for us. Their personality, thriftiness, meat quality, and endangered status were all important factors once we started looking into them.
I have been around and involved with the daily care/training of animals all my life. I bought my first horse at age 2 (ok so my parents bought her with my birthday money because I wanted my own horse like my mama). We have had goats, sheep, cattle, alpacas, llama, turkeys (one wild caught in a bear trap – I wouldn’t let my dad kill it), chickens, pigs, bees, and exotic birds. I am certain I missed something, but you get the idea. My husband and I have raised specifically Large Black since 2009. We have had buyers all over the US and into Canada.
Nestled on a ridge within view of Sideling Hill in the Appalachian Mountains of Southcentral Pennsylvania, Fur Immer (“Forever”) Farm breeds and raises Large Black Hogs, Kinder goats, and Wheaton Maran chickens. We are committed to conserving heritage breed livestock by breeding and pasture raising registered Large Black Hogs, producing quality breeding stock and pork. We also raise KGBA (not the Russian KGB) Kinder goats. Kinders are dual purpose, midsize goats, perfect for the homestead looking at self-sufficiency.
We moved from a fancy housing development in central PA, to a small farm in Southern PA near the Maryland border. The barn was set up for goats, so I said “I’m getting goats”. I asked Husband what he would like to raise, and he said, “Pigs because my Pap raised pigs”. We started researching and read an article about the wonderful Large Black Pigs in Hobby Farms Magazine. We liked that they were recommended for small farms and families with their docile personalities. The fact that they were critically endangered also caught our attention. In 2009, after two years of searching, we found Large Blacks in New Jersey at Dealaman’s Farm. They were on the NALBP registry. They were being raised to harvest heart valves for human heart valve replacement and pork production.
We have raised Large Blacks since then on a small farm and small budget. We may not do it perfectly, but we get it done! Neighboring farms keep an eye on us to see what we’re going to do next. We like to keep them guessing and amused. Our ways may be unconventional, but it’s our ways. We don’t care what others may think or say. “It is what it is”. We are in this for the pigs and their preservation. We are Christians and seek God’s advice on everything, including raising the animals.