NPR logo WATCH: I'll Have What These Pigs Are Having

Food For Thought

WATCH: I'll Have What These Pigs Are Having

Most of America's pigs dine on slop or corn-and-soy-based feed — pretty boring stuff.

But some pigs feast upon truly delectable food that's just past its prime: bread, dough, pastries and other bakery byproducts. Farmers have even been known to feed their pigs Cap'n Crunch and chocolate.

These woolly Mangalitsa pigs in Milan, Ohio are the pride and joy of Chef Jamie Simpson. Simpson works at the Culinary Vegetable Institute, a retreat and educational center for chefs. The CVI was founded by the Jones family, who run a specialty vegetable farm down the road called Chef's Garden.

Every day, Simpson brings his pigs scraps from his kitchen. And let me tell you, these are some mighty fine scraps.

Last week, when Simpson got a delivery of 100 pounds of tomatoes from Chef's Garden for the seven-course tomato dinner he was preparing at the CVI, he found that a few pounds weren't quite up to snuff, aesthetically speaking. (They may have been slightly bruised, or mottled.) The day after their troughs were filled with this embarrassment of beautiful tomatoes, the pigs got the tomato-infused liquid meringue Simpson had decided wasn't good to enough to serve.

What's on Simpson's menu for October? You guessed it: Mangalitsa. If that seems sad, consider that these pigs will be living out their final days gorging on gourmet slop. (Chef's Garden also, for the record, donates a lot of excess produce to nearby food banks.)

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