Twist and Snout

Go nuts over wild-roaming, acorn-fed hogs

If you think you pig out over fall's bounty, then you haven't heard of Babes in the Wood.

This central Virginia farm is home to what could be the world's most autumnal hogs. Owner Bill Jones calls his pigs "forest fed" because they roam across 75 acres of woods and grass, where they scrounge for nuts, roots, fruit and berries.

The pigs–a cross between two heritage breeds: a Tamworth and a red Duroc–have boarlike characteristics that make them wanderers. They spread out across the whole property, averaging only two pigs per acre.

This breeding and active lifestyle makes for naturally lean animals, so the characteristic flavor comes from their diet, not fat. With the abundance of acorns and nuts falling right now, the pigs gain flavors similar to Spain's treasured (cured) Ibérico.

Westover Market butcher Bruce Saunders of Eco-Friendly Foods procured his first half-hog from Babes in the Wood this week, and has more coming into the shop. He's selling traditional, fresh cuts–including chops and the tenderloin–while taking special orders for cuts and experimenting with a few special cures for bacon to debut later this fall. He'll also accept orders for trotters and other special cuts.

The Butcher at Westover Market, 5863 N. Washington Blvd., Arlington; 703-343-0562 or westovermarket.com