Cochon555 is a culinary competition in support of foodways and family farms producing heritage breed pigs. The Atlanta edition of the event takes place on Sunday, June 25th at the Ritz-Carlton Buckhead. Mountain Valley Farm, located in beautiful Ellijay, Georgia, is one of this year’s Cochon555 Atlanta heritage breed pork suppliers. Mountain Valley Farm has been owned and operated by the Wright family continuously since 1840. From the porch overlooking our 300-cow working dairy, you can see the lush hillside pastures which are home to pigs, goats, cows, sheep and more. Owner and farmer of Mountain Valley Farm, Suzy Wright, answered a few of our questions about raising heritage pigs.
DiningOut: How did you get into the business of pig farming?
Suzy Wright: Pigs have been part of our family farm since the mid 1800’s. Harvested in the fall, the pork was salted down and would last until the following November. Every part of the pig would be eaten; one of the most important products being the lard rendered from the abundant fat.
How is the climate/site of Georgia so suitable for this type of agriculture?
Our thick hardwood forests and rainy summers combine to create great shady places to enjoy being a pig… rooting around, digging mudholes, just laying around with your friends. Fall brings acorns, accompanied by loud crunching that lasts for weeks. Mild winters see pigs piled together to keep warm… their version of a “three dog night” is six pigs laying side by side in a hole they have dug to keep out of the wind.
Can you describe the unique flavor of a heritage breed pork?
Generations who had grown up eating only bland “grocery store” pork (their words, not mine) have discovered the taste of real pork, robust and full of flavor. We proudly say NO to hormones, NO to antibiotics, NO to steroids, NO to pesticides, and NO to chemical fertilizers. The resulting demand for our pork has supported a growing, rewarding farm-based business fueled by word of mouth only… heritage pork speaks for itself.
DiningOut Atlanta is proud to be a media sponsor of Cochon555. Please join us for an epic culinary experience centered on 1500 pounds of heritage breed pork prepared by some Atlanta’s top chefs. The event also highlights mixology and winemaking with distillers, bartenders, and even artisan cheesemongers. Part of the proceeds will go to the nonprofit Piggy Bank charity to protect and promote heritage breed species. Visit cochon555.com for ticket information and a full lineup of experiences.
By Denise Romeo