Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

October 5, 2012

Solution for pork prices?

Bill Grimes
Effingham Daily News

EFFINGHAM —     Boy, am I one happy camper.

    Pork producers and agricultural economists are claiming there won’t be a shortage of bacon on supermarket shelves this winter, even though much of Porky and Petunia’s feed supply burned up in this summer’s Midwest drought.

    We’re biggggggg pork eaters at our house. Pork steaks, chops, ribs, sausage, you name it. I haven’t seen any chitlings or ham hocks in our freezer, but that may just be an oversight.

    I can’t speak for others in my household, but bacon is one of my favorite pork products. There’s nothing better on a NASCAR Sunday than frying a pound of bacon in my handy-dandy electric skillet (best Christmas present ever), then using the grease to fry some eggs.

    We haven’t done that for awhile, but I’d like to have that option without having to pawn Mrs. G’s jewelry or re-financing my home loan.

    Some economist dude from Iowa told The Associated Press that pork will not be scarce this winter, though he warned it may cost more than usual because of higher production costs.

    A pound of bacon cost an average of $4.05 at American supermarkets last week, down 22 cents from the previous week. Even if it goes up to, say, $4.50 a pound, that’s something most households can absorb for a periodic bacon fix.

    But that AP story got me to thinking. Why not just save up some cash and buy a whole pig?

    Now I’m not talking about buying a side or two of already butchered pork. I’m talking about a real live, squealing pig. I don’t know if the City of Effingham would frown upon my little project, but it actually sounds kinda fun.

    I won’t go into the details on how a live pig becomes something edible. Most of you can figure that out for yourself.

    We have a storage shed in our backyard. Once I clear out my yard tools and stuff that three other people are storing in the shed, I figure I have room for my, um, new project.

    Once the shed is empty, I can move in that table from the back porch. I figure I can find something on the Internet to help me with the particulars of butchering a hog. Of course, the project wouldn’t be complete without invaluable technical assistance from Mrs. G. I know she’ll be glad to help, even if the “assistance” is limited to her sitting in a lawn chair and making fun of my first-ever try at hog butchering.

    Once the work is done, I can hose down the shed REALLY well, move the stuff back inside and pack my freezer full of delicious pork. Heck, I might even have enough to pay back the in-laws for all the deer sausage they’ve given us over the years.

    Can you think of a more wholesome activity? What a bonding opportunity for me and the Mrs!

    OK, it’s probably not going to happen. But what if it did?