A Mercer County farm works to raise healthier, happier pigs | Restaurant Reviews | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

A Mercer County farm works to raise healthier, happier pigs

Its pork products are for sale at Pittsburgh Public Market

Shawn Temple still farms the Fredonia, Pa., spread that his great-grandparents, Fred and Mary Vernon, bought in the 1920s. And the 158-acre Temple Family Farm still uses the same techniques, raising pork "from farrow to finish" — from birth to slaughter — and allowing pigs and cattle alike to spend most of their lives outdoors.

"They're healthier and happier outside," Temple says.

But while life on the Temple farm may not have changed much, little else in the industry has remained the same. The family farms once common in his part of Mercer County are "getting less and less common," says Temple. "A lot of them have disappeared in my lifetime, and I'm only 38." Why has he held on? "I'm stubborn and stupid," he jokes. "And I love farming."

Which is why the Temples recently began leasing a stall at the Pittsburgh Public Market. 

Each Saturday, they drive from Mercer County to the Strip District, where they offer a variety of pork products — ham, bacon, ribs, sausage — and beef cuts as well. 

 While the meat is not certified organic, the Temples say they feed their cattle grass and hay, and eschew the use of hormones and antibiotics. And that, they hope, will provide the niche their farm needs to survive for another generation. 

"We treat our animals humanely," says Temple. "And we've found that at the market, that's what people are most interested in." 

724-301-2339 or www.templefamilyfarm.com 

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