One of my favorite things I've come to enjoy since moving back to my motherland are all the spontaneous invitations for breakfast, walks and friends and family who drop by in the evenings for a visit. Love abounds here in country and flows so freely. I am grateful to be home- loved so well by my people. Even with all these lovely new connections, life in the country is significantly less social than my former life in the big city so this year my cousin Jim and I decided that we always wanted to learn how to roast a pig in the ground so we decided we would attempt a pig roast and throw a community party.
We came up with the name of "Schweinefest," because of our Swiss heritage. When we were preparing the fire pit 24 hours before the meal we made the joke that we can make anything sound Swiss (even a Hawaiian Pig roast) by adding some Schweizerdeutsch to the title. It was the most fun I've had with fire my whole life and I've caught the fire roasting fever. To be candid it was also a lot of work, heavy lifting and serious amounts of heat! It was 93 degrees on the day we made the fire and put the pig into the earth and on Sunday it was 85 degrees and humid when we brought her out. I am really ready for the sweater and soup weather of autumn and in hindsight we probably need to throw this party a little later in the fall. We were rather lucky on our first attempt of roasting the "schwein," we learned so much about fire pit cooking and didn't burn down my parents home. Great Success!
The pig we used for Schweinefest 2014 was raised by two amazing young women in FFA at the Hood River County fair. I am so grateful for my 4-H/FFA experience and I know these young women have bright futures ahead of them and are full of so much promise. My life has come full circle and similarly to those who purchased my animals at the fair when I was young it was a huge honor to go the fair and buy pigs as a farmer for Mt. View Orchards. I love fruit finished pork and have been giving my piggies ample amounts of cherries, peaches and ripe pears and apples ever since they arrived on the farm. I made 12 apple streusel pies for Schweinefest and they were gone by the nights end. We also pressed 13 gallons of five different apple types for a fresh pressed apple cider(nectar from heaven). We used the left over apple pumice to wrap around the pork making it taste like "meat candy."
The purpose of the party was to celebrate our abundant 2014 harvest, the Autumnal equinox and my homecoming. Many of my old pals(city kitties) and my friends, family and neighbors(country cats) came out to the orchard in droves. Even though we had over 100 people at Schweinefest after it was said and done we have copious amount of sweet pulled pork and the fire pit is still putting off steam 2 days after the party. It really was a beautiful evening with so much warmth, affection and Pork! My mom gave a toast that had everyone in stitches and she had us exclaim, "hip hip hooray," in unison. I love the bejesus out of my parents. They really are so very good to me and I find it easy to give them all my lovely daughterness. I'm learning how to collaborate with them on the farm and feeling so grateful for this rare opportunity.
It really was a magical evening and I think I want to make it an annual tradition here on the farm. A yearly harvest party that celebrates the orchards bounty, loyal neighbors, fire roasted pork, apple pies. thankful toasts, a welcome to new neighbors and our orchard filled with the sounds of laughter is something I want to recreate as many times as possible here at Mt. View Orchards. I woke up the day after the party and felt so grateful and properly and fully welcomed back home. I still have so much to learn as a young orchardist but at my homecoming party I was surrounded by so many farming legends, supportive friends and family, beautiful apples still hanging from the tree and it filled me with so much hope that I am not taking on this orchard project alone. I am in an orcharding community and they are always going to show up when I am in need. I am a grateful farmer.