Titles: Master Mower, Belly Rub Connoisseur, Champion Pig Ambassador
Favorite Foods from the Farm: Dandelion flowers, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, butternut squash
Winnie joined our family in November 2018, although we didn’t know it at the time!
Kevin and I both have years of experience working in farm animal rescue. In the summer of 2018, this background connected us with a caring woman who was trying to find a home for a potbellied pig who had fallen through the cracks at the farm where she lived. Winnie’s story echoes that of too many pet pigs across the country. People purchase them as cute little piglets and, unaware of a pig’s needs and behaviors (let alone healthy adult size), lose interest or become frustrated as the piglet gets older. Pigs are smart, funny, strong-willed animals, but their intelligence, stubbornness, strength, and natural behaviors such as rooting makes them a challenge for many households. As a result, many pet pigs end up abandoned or surrendered to shelters and rescues. In Winnie’s case, she languished in a dark horse stall without the care or attention she needed.
When we first met Winnie, she was so obese that she couldn’t see or move around well, her overgrown hooves were like flippers, and she was noticeably withdrawn and depressed. We trimmed her hooves, recommended a more appropriate diet, and reached out to our networks to try to find her a new home. It is not always easy to find a good home for a pig, especially one who would need some extra care to regain her health, and so we offered to bring her to our farm to start the process while looked for a permanent home.
It should come as no surprise that we ended up as “foster failures!” After a year of looking for Winnie’s perfect forever home, we finally realized that she had already found one here at Dandelion Ridge Farm!
It has been a joy to watch Winnie blossom—first just soaking up the sunshine, and then gradually venturing farther and farther into her paddock as she gained strength, confidence, and mobility. Now healthy and active, she is a very busy woman, out grazing and exploring, sometimes into the dark of night. Not even thunderstorms faze her while she is out and about! When dandelions are flowering, Winnie works her way around the paddock, eating every flower one by one! We often see her side by side with her pygmy goat friends, Lucy and Alice, as the trio grazes or takes a siesta.
As she has come out of her shell, Winnie’s big personality has come out as well. Pigs have a penchant for drama, but Winnie is as mellow and charming as they come. It seemed appropriate to name our butternut pickles—unique and sweet, seasoned with warm mulling spices—in honor of this sweet lady!
Through our jar return program, jars of Miss Winnie’s Mulled Butternut Pickles support the Pig Advocates League, a non-profit that works to protect potbellies and other pigs through education, advocacy, rescue, and legislation. Find out more about their work at pigadvocates.com.
I know some of you have been patiently waiting for our Roasted Tomato Coulis. Well, you’re in luck—I made some yesterday! I roast our tomatoes, thyme, onions, and garlic for nice deep flavor, then blend it, creating a smooth, versatile sauce. The French word “coulis” (pronounced “koo-LEE”) simply refers to a smooth sauce made from pureed vegetables or fruits.
We use the coulis everywhere—over pasta, mixed into our morning grits (or savory oatmeal!), or in any dish that could benefit from the addition of tomato, onion, and garlic. Add some chiles, smoked paprika, and cumin for a chili base, or add curry powder or garam masala for the start of an Indian-inspired dish. We even have customers who use it in Bloody Marys!
Have fun experimenting!
It sure feels like spring is behind us and summer is in full swing—and our garden looks that way, too! Our plants are so much bigger each day that I feel like I’m watching a time-lapse video of growth. And of course, the weeds grow twice as fast as anything else! We’ve been busy trellising a jungle of tomatoes in our high tunnel—later than we should have, but they managed to get away from us! Our tomatillos are forming husks, okra plants have their first flowers, and we harvested our first zucchini. Yikes!
I’ve also been in the kitchen working on some new recipes, canning our last batch of Sage & Thyme Butternut Pickles for the season, and perfecting a new Sunny Zucchini Relish that we’ll be unveiling soon, seasoned with mustard seeds, celery seed, turmeric, and ginger. Take a sneak peek!