Aaron has always been interested in the topic of health and considered going to medical school before he found farming as his true passion. Aaron believes that we should look at medicine and food production holistically. His time in the restaurant business and interest in medicine helped him come to his perspective that helping people stay healthy goes hand in hand with producing healthy food, healthy animals and healthy environmental management. As Aaron sees it, “everything is connected”. Aaron found reading Wendell Berry to be particularly inspiring.
As our Hog Production Manager, Aaron manages our 200 Iberian hogs and our 500 American heritage breed hogs. Our hogs are all Certified Humane, Global Animal Partnership Step 5+ Certified, holistically managed, non-GMO fed and pastured raised. Our hogs are mobile land-renovation units- they help us clear and rehabilitate land in many versatile ways.
For Aaron, one of the most challenging aspects of his job is “staying ahead of where we’re at as far as management. Balancing current needs of the pigs with future needs of the land. Figuring out systems that are going to produce really healthy pigs and land- our dynamic systems are always changing. There is a lot of planning”. While this is challenging, Aaron also sees it as “fun for me to be constantly designing new systems, systems from which other people can learn to have a truly regenerative enterprise”.
Aaron sees great potential in our rapidly expanding hog program. “It’s exciting for me to work with our labor force and to see how much they care”. Aaron considers himself “blessed to work with Will and the people he has here to produce food in a sustainable way. It’s exciting to see the potential for growth at White Oak Pastures as the model for how to do that in the future”.
Aaron’s favorite daily chore is checking for new piglets. “I love when there’s a litter of piglets, watching them grow up, seeing proud mammas taking care of little babies. We do a lot of work to make sure they have everything they need”.
Aaron says his favorite pork recipe is pork chops and collard greens. Aaron says knowing the story behind his food makes it even better: “When you see the old cut over timber which used to be almost desert and the pigs cleared up the weeds and scrub plants and you get out there and see the native grasses and trees and you can start to see what the land will look like in 10 years, then that’s the best pork chops I ever had”. Aaron has “talked to a lot of customers and hearing that their favorite thing is the pork is really rewarding”.
“There really is nothing happier than a pig in the mud. When it gets really hot here in the summer and you see a pig in the mud, you can’t help but think the world is a good place”.