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Meet the Author - Barry Estabrook

August 2, 2015

Meet Vermont-based author Barry Estabrook at the Vermont Fresh Network Forum. A three-time James Beard Award winner, Barry Estabrook is a former contributing editor at Gourmet magazine and the author of Tomatoland, a book about industrial tomato agriculture. His latest release, Pig Tales: An Omnivores Quest for Sustainable Meats, explores the dark side of the American pork industry. Drawing on his personal experiences raising pigs as well as his sharp investigative instincts, Estabrook covers the range of the human-porcine experience. He embarks on nocturnal feral pig hunts in Texas. He visits farmers who raise animals in vast confinement barns for Smithfield and Tyson, two of the country’s biggest pork producers. And he describes the threat of infectious disease and the possible contamination of our food supply. Through these stories shines Estabrook’s abiding love for these remarkable creatures. Pigs are social, self-aware, and playful, not to mention smart enough to master the typical house dog commands of “sit, stay, come” twice as fast as your average pooch. With the cognitive abilities of at least three-year-olds, they can even learn to operate a modified computer. Unfortunately for the pigs, they’re also delicious to eat.

Estabrook shows how these creatures are all too often subjected to lives of suffering in confinement and squalor, sustained on a drug-laced diet just long enough to reach slaughter weight, then killed on mechanized disassembly lines. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Pig Tales presents a lively portrait of those farmers who are taking an alternative approach, like one Danish producer that has a far more eco-friendly and humane system of pork production, and new, small family farms with free-range heritage pigs raised on antibiotic-free diets. It is possible to raise pigs responsibly and respectfully in a way that is good for producers, consumers, and some of the top chefs in America.

Barry will be joining us at the VFN Annual Forum Fundraising Dinner on Sunday, August 2nd -- come chat him up about sustainanable pork and try some yourself! Barry will be alongside VFN farmers Bruce and Beth of Maple Wind Farm who will be tasting sausage made from their sustainably-raised pigs.

Learn more about Barry's latest book through the following links:

Pork Chops, Pig Smarts & Muckraking: An Interview with Barry Estabrook - Modern Farmer

Inside the factory farm, where 97% of U.S. pigs are raised - Splendid Table

When Pigs Cry: The Raising of America's Pork - VPR's Vermont Edition

'Tales' Of Pig Intelligence, Factory Farming And Humane Bacon - NPR

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