At Slow Food Wallowas’ Pig-nic last Saturday at Emily and Rob Klavins’ “Barking Mad Farm,” participants got nose-to snout with their food.

Not only was there live music, great food, interaction with friendly (and small) Kune Kune pigs for children and parents, but the butcher demonstration put on by Nicky Briggs of C’est Bon Farms was a crowd pleaser.

Briggs made it look easy as the crowd packed in three deep around his table.

“You can turn a pig into a million things — it’s a miracle animal,” Briggs said.

Shortly thereafter, the assemblage enjoyed servings of five different pork-related foods prepared by local chefs.

The event was supported by 15 difference businesses or organizations and ended with the award of a $1,000 grant.

Nathan Slinker of Alder Slope Gardens took home the prize, but judges were so impressed by the top four Wallowa County applicants that board member Erika Polmar of Joseph and Portland, owner of “Plate and Pitchfork Dinners,” contributed an additional $1,500 toward future awards.

The other top three applicants inspiring the gift were Jacqueline Vali’s “The Inspirational Garden,” Mike and Sara Miller’s “Bunchgrass Beef,” and Lindsey and Nicky Briggs’ “C’est Bon.”

Slinker plans to use his grant put in a low tunnel system to protect hardy greens, root vegetables, broccoli and cauliflower for an extended season. Slinker sells his produce to local stores, restaurants and markets.

“We began with a vision of doing something sustainable,” Slinker said. “It’s something I feel wholeheartedly is important.”

Slow Food Wallowas puts on a variety of events in the county throughout the year. Each event is a celebration of local food and food producers. Up next is a planned screening of “How We Grow” at the OK Theatre in Enterprise. The 2017 documentary is the story of young farmers building community around locally grown food.

Slow Food Wallowas chairperson Lynne Curry pointed out that the full immersion celebration, which included petting and admiring live piglets, butchering a hog and enjoying pork dishes, was in line with the movement’s effort to reestablish a connection with food.

If the experience made people uncomfortable, she said, they might be moved to champion humane treatment of livestock, or learn more about the “Food for Change” campaign that asks people to think about how they eat, shop and approach food.

For more information: Slow Food Wallowas on Facebook.

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