Sloping Hill Farm
Recently we had the opportunity to take a trip to the Sloping Hill farm on Vancouver Island. We’ve worked with Sloping Hill Farm – specifically their pork – for years, so it was a great chance for us to see it at its source.
Dirk Keller and Bea Graf have owned and worked their beautiful farmland for over 14 years, making a home in Canada via Nuremburg, Germany. A relatively compact 50 acre site, their annual production is roughly 300 pigs, as well as a seasonal stock of turkeys and chickens. They use 20 of those acres to cultivate various grains, which are rolled and milled locally into flour, rolled oats and dry cereal mixes.
Dirk and Bea make their revenues selling pork, whole chickens, flour and oats, as well as eggs from an “Honour Box” at the end of their driveway. The size of a bus-stop, it features a notebook to record your purchase and a jar to leave your payment. Good, old-fashioned business, it’s great to see that such trust in the public still exists, so close to home.
The real bread-winners at Sloping Hill are the prized pigs. They’re the reason that Dirk and Bea haven’t left the farm together (for more than a few hours) in years. While he examines their pens for any repair needs, Dirk tells us about the construction and subsequent repairs he’s made for his herd. A 500lbs sow can do some real damage to a fence or door when she sets her mind to it.
The farming couple breed, birth, raise and finish the hogs themselves. The pigs are pure-bred Landrace and Berkshire boars (two of them) and (five or six) sows, which are cross bred for the many attributes linked to hybrid vigor. They grow large naturally on a diet of dry peas, lentils, apples and other fruit for five to six months.
They are then shipped to Courtenay where they are processed the day they arrive. They are chilled through until Tuesday, when they are collected by Nanaimo Cold for delivery to us at Two Rivers on Wednesday. Butchery takes place on Thursday, curing and selling by Friday. This quick timeline is essential. The chain of stewardship and great animal husbandry with our meat farmers makes for exceptional charcuterie and amazingly fresh, heritage bred, 100% cruelty-free island pork.
Two Rivers Specialty Meats procures the vast majority of pork raised at Sloping Hill. Though we don’t have full market exclusivity, we are the only wholesaler of sides and fresh cuts and are definitely the only people working 200Kg+ per week into Salumi. It’s a real treat being able to create our charcuturie products from such exceptional stock.