Favorite

Falling Sky raises Berkshire/Red Wattles in the woods 

They're hogs with history.

click to enlarge Falling Sky Farm hogs image
  • Courtesy Falling Sky Farm

What makes a pig a heritage hog? It's got history. Falling Sky Farm in Marshall, which is supplying swine to the Heritage Hog Roast, raises a crossbreed of a Berkshire and a Red Wattle. The Berkshire breed's origin story may be apocryphal — supposedly Oliver Cromwell's army discovered it 350 years ago during the English Civil War — but there's little doubt the royal family maintained a large herd of Berkshire hogs outside of Windsor Castle in the 19th century. Cody Hopkins, co-owner of Falling Sky, said Berkshires are popular because of their "high meat quality." Little is known about the history of the Red Wattle breed — named for the two hanging fat deposits on either side of the hog's neck — beyond the fact that it comes from a herd of hogs found in the woods of East Texas.

Like most wild hogs, Falling Sky's pigs spend most of their days foraging in the woods, defoliating briars, digging up roots and feasting on nuts. Hopkins rotates them through different parts of his forested acreage with electric fences.

Hopkins, 33, and his wife Andrea Todt, 28, started Falling Sky in 2007. Todt grew up outside of Marshall. Hopkins is from Van Buren. Both went off to college to get bachelor degrees not directly related to farming (Todt to Earlham College in Indiana for a degree in outdoor education, Hopkins to Hendrix for a physics degree). After a couple of years teaching in the Northeast, Hopkins missed rural Arkansas and decided to return home. He said he wanted to get involved with the community and considered returning to school for an MBA, but decided, after seeing farmers across the country have success with direct-marketed livestock farms, "that real economic development would be to do something like that here and spread the good food movement in rural Searcy County."

He and Todt own 168 acres and lease another 80. They raise turkeys, chickens, laying hens, pigs and cattle. Unlike most livestock farmers in Arkansas who work on contract with Tyson or sell to a stockyard, Falling Sky sells all of its meats directly to consumers and restaurants. Nearly all of it goes to Little Rock and Conway, Hopkins said. Forty percent goes to restaurants, another 40 percent to a meat share Falling Sky operates and the other 20 percent to farmers markets and online sales.

Falling Sky employs 10 people (aside from Hopkins and Todt). "There's a lot of talk about how great farms like ours are in how we treat animals," Hopkins said. "But farms like us can really have an economic impact in rural communities. We're constantly growing and looking to make these jobs full time."

Favorite

Speaking of...

Comments (3)

Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

More by Lindsey Millar

  • The Debtors' Prison Edition

    This week, Max and Lindsey talk about a Sherwood District Court that operates as an illegal debtors’ prison, according to a new ACLU federal lawsuit; Little Rock Police Chief Kenton Buckner’s views on residency requirements, the Little Rock School District and a wide range of other topics; and then they do a quick run through some other topics including the imminent closure of the Broadway Bridge and the selection of Leslie Rutledge’s daddy to head up the Election Commission.
    • Aug 26, 2016
  • A plan for Arkansas to get more out of the money it spends on corrections

    Arkansas's prison population is among the fastest growing in the country. The state now spends more than half of a billion dollars on corrections, a 68 percent increase since 2004, and our prison population, which increased by 21 percent between 2012 and 2016, is expected to rise by another 19 percent between 2016 and 2023 to 21,345. Those were the facts and projections Justice Center, a project of the national nonprofit Council of State Governments, reminded people of yesterday before presenting criminal justice reform proposals.
    • Aug 26, 2016
  • Arkansas criminal justice reform proposal due today

    We'll get a good sense of what criminal justice reform legislation might look like in the 2017 General Assembly later today — as well as some potential stumbling blocks to its passage. Justice Center, an offshoot of the national nonprofit Council of State Governments, will offer policy recommendations to the Legislative Criminal Justice Oversight Task Force this afternoon at the Arkansas Association of Counties conference.
    • Aug 25, 2016
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Casting out demons: why Justin Harris got rid of kids he applied pressure to adopt

    Rep. Justin Harris blames DHS for the fallout related to his adoption of three young girls, but sources familiar with the situation contradict his story and paint a troubling picture of the adoption process and the girls' time in the Harris household.
    • Mar 12, 2015
  • A child left unprotected

    State Rep. Justin Harris and his wife adopted a young girl through the state Department of Human Services. How did she, six months later, end up in the care of a man who sexually abused her?
    • Mar 5, 2015

Most Shared

Latest in Cover Stories

  • Arkansas trauma system takes a hit

    Doctors worry about impact of canceled contract with educational arm, loss of funds.
    • Aug 25, 2016
  • The return of Kaleidoscope

    The LGBT Film Festival kicks off in North Little Rock.
    • Aug 17, 2016
  • Seven to watch

    At the Kaleidoscope LGBT Film Festival.
    • Aug 17, 2016
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

August

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31  

Most Recent Comments

 

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation