If you're the sort of person who dreams about jamón ibérico, who has repeatedly followed La Quercia's Acorn Edition from Jude Becker's farm to Herb Eckhouse's prosciutto factory, who has read Peter Kaminsky's Pig Perfect so many times that it's, well, pig-eared, then you might want to consider going over to McCall's Meat & Fish in Los Feliz tomorrow. Nathan McCall and Karen Yoo have brought in a whole pig, or what's left of it by now, and will be selling off chops, pork belly, trotters, jowls (guanciale, anyone?) or possibly the whole head on a first come, first serve basis. (Phone orders are difficult on the weekends, McCall says of their tiny shop.)
This is not, we should clarify, just any pig. This is a Berkshire pig, fed on milk and finished on acorns, and raised not in Italy or northern Iowa but about 70 miles north of this city, near Lake Hughes, on the northerly edge of the Angeles National Forest, at ReRide Ranch. ReRide Ranch is a very small operation, run by Lefty Ayers on a farm that was started in 1897 by the Sandberg family. It once had an orchard of over 2000 apple trees, some of which are still producing. So are a few massive oak trees, under which Ayers' Berkshire pigs have been grazing, and growing, since the summer. All two of them.
Ayers has other pigs, although they are not Berkshires. If you took (or read about) chef Neal Fraser's recent hog butchering class, you may recognize the pedigree, as Fraser (Grace, BLD) used one of Ayers pigs for that event.
On Thursday, Ayers' pig arrived at McCall's, where Nathan McCall has been parceling out the pork that was pre-sold to some customers, and the remainder that will go to the rest of us. McCall and Yoo say that they might bring in Ayers' other pig, depending on the kind of response they get from people. “It's not going to suck,” said McCall yesterday afternoon as he examined the prodigious layer of fat on a gorgeous piece of pork belly. “It's going to be very, very good.”
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