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home : news : odds and ends free May 25, 2016

   
7/6/2013 10:20:00 AM
Flavor experiment: Wash. farmer feeds pot to pigs

SNOHOMISH, Wash. (AP) — The white van with tinted windows pulled up to the driveway with its cargo - cardboard boxes full of marijuana. And the customers eagerly awaited it, grunting and snorting.

The deal was going down for three hungry Berkshire pigs from a Washington state farm, and a German television crew was there to film it.

Part flavor experiment, part green recycling, part promotion and bolstered by the legalization of recreational marijuana in Washington state, pot excess has been fed to the hogs by their owners, pig farmer Jeremy Gross and Seattle butcher William von Schneidau, since earlier this year.

Gross and von Schneidau now sell their "pot pig" cuts at von Schneidau's butcher shop in Seattle's Pike Place Market at a premium price — bacon is $17 a pound while chops go for $16.90 a pound.

"He's like 'let's see what kind of flavor it gives it.' So we ran it and it gave good flavor," Gross said. "It's like anything else, what you feed them is what they're going to taste like. It's almost like a savory alfalfa fed cow or alfalfa fed pig."

The meat, though, won't get people high.

It's just a flavor infusion.

While the passage of recreational marijuana inspired the experiment, Gross and von Schneidau get the marijuana excess — roots, stems, and other part of the plant that are grinded and not used for consumption — from a medical marijuana dispensary. At the butcher shop, cuts from the pot pigs are signed with a little drawing of a marijuana leaf stuck on them with a toothpick.

"It tastes like the best pork chop you've ever had," said Matt McAlman, who runs Top Shelf Organic, the dispensary that is providing the pot plant waste for the pigs to eat.

While Gross raises pig on his property, he works full time as a construction foreman. The only way he can stay in the pig business, he said, is the free feed he collects from a local distillery and brewery. He feeds his pigs barrels of the distillery wheat "mash" every day, fortified by a nutrient mix his veterinarian created. Gross gets his free pig feed, while the distillery and brewery get rid of waste.

Gross is applying that model to the medical marijuana excess and von Schneidau hopes it's an example people use as production of marijuana ramps up under the state-approved system.

But currently the state draft rules say pot plant waste must be "rendered unusable" by either grinding it or mixing it with non-consumable, recycled solid waste, such as food waste, compost, soil and paper waste. The state's rules for medical marijuana do not say how to get rid of marijuana byproducts.

John P. McNamara, a professor at Washington State University's Department of Animal Sciences, doesn't find the experiment amusing.

"Of all the crazy things I've seen in my 37-plus years, this is the dumbest things I've ever seen in my life," he said.

Currently, Gross is only feeding three pigs the marijuana mix, which on a recent afternoon they chowed down on with fervor, sticking their snouts into the pile of mash.

Asked if feeding marijuana affects the pigs, such as perhaps giving them munchies, Gross said can see no effect on the pigs.

Already all pigs do is sleep and eat, he said.

But his farm manager mentioned that one of the more salty sows mellows out after a feeding.


Anderson Jewelers




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