Here at AWA, we’ve been thinking a lot about this special holiday and how we may have more in common with our ancestors than we think. Upon arriving in America, the early pilgrims ate what was locally available (granted, they didn’t have an alternative!). This happened to be animals that ranged and foraged in the woods and pastures, eating a diet specific to their natural needs and free from non-therapeutic antibiotics or added hormones. Sounds like a Certified AWA farm, doesn’t it? Meat, dairy, and eggs from animals raised outdoors on pasture or range is better for you, better for farmers, and better for the planet all great reasons to give thanks.
For ethical eaters attending this year’s Big Apple BBQ in New York City June 12-13, a visit to legendary pitmaster Ed Mitchell and The Pit restaurant booth will be an exceptional opportunity to satisfy a hunger for ‘cue while supporting family farmers raising their animals with the highest humane standards. The Pit, of Raleigh, North Carolina, will be serving its signature whole-hog barbecue made exclusively from Animal Welfare Approved pastured pork supplied by the North Carolina Natural Hog Growers Association (NCNHGA). Pastured pork means the pork comes from pigs raised outdoors, on pasture, where they enjoy sunlight and mud baths in natural surroundings. For eaters, AWA pastured pork means there is no conflict between what your taste buds savor and what your conscience demands.
Animal Welfare Approved staff will be on-hand to run contest giveaways of limited edition AWA “I (HEART) Pastured Pork” T-shirts and backpacks, apply temporary tattoos, and answer questions about farm animal welfare and the Animal Welfare Approved program. “We’re proud of our farmers and proud of our program,” says Animal Welfare Approved Program Director Andrew Gunther. “Since we can’t really shout it from the rooftops, we thought t-shirts would be fun.” All visitors who sign up for the Animal Welfare Approved e-mail list will receive a free drawstring backpack.
Ed Mitchell and The Pit Chef Lauren Smaxwell will be dishing up The Pit’s authentic eastern North Carolina barbecue and credit the superior farming practices of the North Carolina Natural Hog Growers Association for making it special. Traditional whole-hog barbecue calls for traditional pork and NCNHGA pasture-raised pork contains no sub-therapeutic antibiotics or other harmful chemicals. According to Chef Smaxwell, “Ed has a passion for whole-hog barbecue and has an expectation that the products we cook and serve are as authentic as anything you would find at any table in eastern North Carolina.”
NCNHGA President Jeremiah Jones sums it up. “You’ve heard of pigs in a blanket? Well, we’ve got pigs in clover.”
The Big Apple BBQ runs June 12-13 in Madison Square Park, New York City from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm. Admission is free and all barbecue is $8.00 a plate. For more information, visit www.bigapplebbq.org.