The Glory Of Whole Hog, And The Fresh Take Guide To Charleston

I’m still buzzing from a whirlwind 24-hour trip to Charleston a few weeks ago. I have to be honest, and some people may get mad: beef barbecue doesn’t do it for me anymore. But whole hog, oh my.

As soon as I landed and dropped my bags, I headed to Rodney Scott BBQ for a plate from the legendary pitmaster that did not disappoint: shredded whole hog, a few pork ribs, mac-n-cheese, coleslaw and cornbread. Doused in a spicy, vinegar based sauce, the meat had a perfect tang and lightness to it. I took leftover ribs to-go and added in another quart of mac, because I like to eat from where I’m coming from for a few days after I return home. As good as that lunch was, I wanted to eat it for another reason, too: most barbecue joints still source meat from the industrial supply chain. The juxtaposition was stark, compared with what I ate later that night.

I flew in for a nighttime talk on my book, Raw Deal, hosted by Molly Feinning, the CEO of hot sauce brand Red Clay. Inside her home, chef Vilda Gonzalez prepared pork from one of the best farming operations in the entire South, Peculiar Pig Farm. Since 2009 Marvin C. Ross, a fifth-generation farmer, has been raising hogs in the woods of South Carolina’s Lowcountry, where the animals roam and forage in the forest as they please. To showcase the ground pork, Gonzalez made skewers with sprigs of rosemary as the spears — and topped the bite with a little citrus. Luckily for me, Gonzalez instantly recognized that I am someone who likes to travel with food, and packed me up with five pounds of frozen Peculiar Pig ground pork. It fit perfectly in my suitcase, stayed well-chilled in my airplane’s cargo hold, and eventually transformed in my New York City kitchen into the most glorious and silky sauce.

I tossed in my ultimate comfort food, pasta, and it sustained me through stressful days and hard headlines — anyone else concerned that the Ohio River, which sustains farms along the eastern Midwest, is just 20 miles from the catastrophic train derailment and chemical spill in East Palestine, Ohio? There’s also my report on the state of farmland in Ukraine, and how much is littered with landmines. When explosives aren’t the problem, heavy metals left behind from missiles have contaminated some lands, so much that they will not be able to produce food safety, for decades to come.

We’re having wild spring-like weather in New York right now. Wherever you are, if you have a long weekend ahead, I hope you enjoy it!

—Chloe Sorvino, Staff Writer

Order my book, Raw Deal: Hidden Corruption, Corporate Greed and the Fight for the Future of Meat, out now from Simon & Schuster’s Atria Books.

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The Fresh Take Hit List: Charleston

What’s Fresh

Despite Howard Buffett’s Help, Land Mines Litter Ukraine And Threaten Spring Planting. Tens of millions around the world rely on the country for grain and cooking oil, but clearing live explosives from Russia’s unprovoked invasion is expensive, and even with Buffett’s philanthropy, it’s a process that can take months. By Yours Truly.

Egg Prices Soar Even Higher—70% In A Year—Amid Accusations Of Price Gouging. A farm advocacy group accuses egg producers of “apparent price gouging, price coordination” to gain more profit, reports Anthony Tellez.

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I could eat five pounds more of this spaghetti covered in bolognese featuring Peculiar Pig Farm pork.

Chloe Sorvino leads coverage of food and agriculture as a staff writer on the enterprise team at Forbes. Her book, Raw Deal: Hidden Corruption, Corporate Greed and the Fight for the Future of Meat, will publish on December 6, 2022, with Simon & Schuster’s Atria Books. Her nearly nine years of reporting at Forbes has brought her to In-N-Out Burger’s secret test kitchen, drought-ridden farms in California’s Central Valley, burnt-out national forests logged by a timber billionaire, a century-old slaughterhouse in Omaha and even a chocolate croissant factory designed like a medieval castle in northern France.

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