What began as a way for Randy Riviere to pay for his son’s baseball habit and college tuition has become Wilderness Farms, an environmentally conscious farm raising purebred Berkshire hogs in the crisp mountain air of Enumclaw, Washington. Nestled just west of the Cascade Mountains in the cold Northwest, Randy and his family needed a tough breed that thrives on the mountain woodlands.
It’s a full family operation at Wilderness Farms; his son Zack juggles everyday feeding while working on his degree at the University of Washington, and Randy’s wife, Dawn, helps manage the land.
Randy’s previous life as a wildlife biologist allows him to maximize the environmental potential of the land while preserving the space for migratory wildlife. His focus on respecting animals’ natural instincts and minimizing stress means his hogs enjoy rooting through the land in social groups as nature intended.
In addition to grazing on Orchard Grass, Red Clover, Vetch, and other grasses, these hogs enjoy a locally raised, hand-mixed barley grain year-round with absolutely no hormones or unnecessary antibiotics. Randy even mixes his feed by hand using a traditional recipe from the 1940s.
“We have very similar philosophies concerning how we produce quality meats, including landscape management, animal welfare, quality healthy feeding regimens, and the highest quality meat products,” Randy said. “The Crowd Cow folks are out of the box thinkers that work to exemplify what we producers do.”
Prized by Chefs
Berkshire pork is pink-hued with intense intramuscular marbling, which means rich and juicy flavors. The tender meat is perfect for pork lovers looking for a depth of flavor unmatched by generic supermarket meat. Not only that, Randy’s pork is the favorite for Renee Erickson’s Seattle-based restaurants, Bar Melusine and Walrus and Carpenter.
“The meat to fat ratio is so beautiful on Randy’s pork. It tastes really clean,” says Bobby Palmquist, executive chef at the Walrus and Carpenter. “I would eat Randy’s pork raw in a heartbeat.”