We always send out the welcome wagon for new residents of Sharon Springs, even the four-legged ones. We couldn’t resist paying a visit to some of our new neighbors. Kate Miller of Weathertop Farm is now only the third farmer in New York State to start raising this special breed of pig that originated in New Zealand. The popularity of this rare breed has been increasing in tandem with the interest in the Slow Food movement.
From the American Kunekune association:
“Kunekunes make great pasture pigs being unique in their ability to graze and to do well on grass alone. There is no need to “supplement” them with commercial pig chow if they are on pasture enough to sustain them meeting their nutritional requirements. Pasture need not be of the highest quality and can consist solely of natural grasses, legumes and weeds. The typical short, up-turned snout speaks to their ability to graze and the fact that they are not prone to root. While kunes are known for their great meat quality and taste, the pigs have many additional uses within the sustainable systems of small farms, hobby farms, and for folks who keep other livestock on their acreages. Kunes can be used for weeding vineyards and orchards. They will clean up fallen fruit. The small size and gentle nature of the breed would make them great pigs for finding truffles. Being exceptionally laid back and unaffected by strangers or new experiences, the pigs have been used as therapy animals, members of petting zoos, participants in events such as “kiss the pig” contests, and for their educational value. Of course, Kunekune Pigs make fabulous pets for those whose priority is not to own the smallest pig available.
Most notable is the attribute of the Kunekune Pig’s temperament being very docile, brave, and extremely friendly. There is no other breed of swine that can compare to the Kune in this area. Never needing to be tamed or socialized, Kunekune piglets are curious and love the attention of people and the companionship of other species of animals. Only second to their drive for food, the love of a belly rub or a scratch reigns supreme. Kunes are easy on fencing and do not tend to roam.”
You can see Kate every Saturday during the summers at our Sharon Springs Farmer’s Market right in the village.