New Things a’happenin: Hudson Ranch Gloucester Old Spots/Wild Boar Cross
On Wednesday, Stacey and I will be heading to the Bay Area to spend a few days visiting friends and relaxing in beautiful San Francisco and the Northern California Wine Country. The plan will obviously be to check out as many local joints as possible: Dinner at Brett Emerson’s Contigo, breakfast at the Ferry Market (and more specifically Chilequiles from Primavera), some ice cream at the Bi-Rite Creamery and Market, charcuterie from Boccalone and Fatted Calf; the possibilities are endless. One part of the trip to which I’m probably looking most forward is our planned visit to Hudson Ranch in Carneros.
A few months ago, via Twitter, I began speaking to Scott Boggs, manager of Hudson Ranch. In September 2007, Hudson Vineyards launched Hudson Ranch and began raising pigs, produce, and estate-grown olives to make an unbelievably complex blend of Olive Oil (this year’s bottling: Hudson Vineyards 2009 Titi’s Carneros Olive Oil). Over the last few years they’ve developed quite the clientele list including Thomas Keller’s: Ad Hoc, Chris Cosentino’s Salumeria: Boccalone, and Taylor Boetticher’s: Fatted Calf Charcuterie just to name a few.
We initially began exchanging tweets regarding their olive oil and what all they’re growing to incorporate into the blend. Revival Meats has plans in the works for our own olive trees along those lines, and I couldn’t help but inquire to Scott regarding Hudson Ranch’s. From there it moved on to more porky subjects. And then, they sent THIS picture out via the Twitterverse:
Yeeeeeeah. Wouldja look at that? Have you ever seen such a thing? Accidentally*, one of Hudson Ranch’s domesticated wild boars made his way into their Gloucester Old Spots’ quarters and well, had his way with one of the ladies. The result? Dalmation pigs, of course. Separate from this turning of events, I had been contemplating a cross between our Old Spots and a wild pig—desiring to introduce a little more flavor to the domesticated pork. The last thing I wanted to do though was go through the process of trapping one of the many wild pigs that call our area home, then trying to domesticate it. I had concerns of compromising the health of my own herd, by bringing a pig out of the woods and onto the ranch carrying who-knows-what in its system.After emails were exchanged with Scott, it sounds like they are open to the possibility of hooking us up with one of the boars from that litter. My instinct is that once we breed the F1 boar to our Old Spots sows, the F2 cross containing 25% wild boar should add a good bit of flavor without compromising some of the other characteristics of the Old Spots that we really like, such as their long, fatty bodies.
So now, what was once a visit born out of curiosity to see how they run their ship, has now become somewhat of a pig shopping excursion. If everything works out, hopefully we will be getting one of those little bad boys to Texas in the next few weeks.
*In an effort of full disclosure, Scott emailed me and said that the accident was more of an “accident”. They were indeed planning on crossing the wild boar with the Old Spots…just not yet. Sometimes nature takes its own course.