During the summer we feed the pigs a fair amount of vegetables. These are waste products from produce wholesalers and farmers markets, unsaleable due to discoloration, bruising, and freezer burn (when the coolers accidentally go below freezing). Sometimes the fruit sports a light fuzz of white mold, but the pigs don’t mind that. Feeding produce scraps is a time-honored, environmentally sound use of food that no longer is acceptable for humans, but still has too much value to be converted directly to compost.
When I pick up the produce, I take whatever they have that day. Some days we really hit the jackpot with high-energy or high-nutrition foods like pallets of over-ripe peaches, sweet corn, or pumpkins. Some days we end up carrying coals to Newcastle. Such was this week’s haul: pallets of lettuce. Lettuce is certainly more digestible than mid-summer grasses, but there’s not a lot of qualitative difference. Bringing lettuce to pigs with plenty of lush pasture is kind of a silly exercise. But we have a partnership of sorts with our produce folks: we save them their disposal costs, they save our feed costs. We’re in it for the long haul, so we willingly take low-value loads along with high-value loads.