Located at the base of Mount Shasta in Northern California, Belcampo has one of the largest organic pastured-based pork systems in the U.S.
Founded in 2012 by Anya Fernald, Belcampo represents her vision of making animal welfare and sustainably‐farmed meat available to consumers on a larger scale than ever before.
In Italy as a cheesemaker, Anya was at the forefront of the slow food movement that started there in 1989. The Slow Food movement encourages people to eat local and learn about where their food comes from and how it is raised. Improving farm animal welfare and reducing the impact of eating meat on the environment is one of the slow movement’s tenets – a tenet Anya was eager to bring to the U.S. meat industry.
She and an investor founded Belcampo and started raising Berkshire, Duroc, and Ossabaw hogs. The pigs forage on wetlands and forested hillsides, “exhibiting natural rooting behaviors that allow them to take in nutrients and minerals from the soil.” The pigs get their nutrition from a custom mix of organic grains, like barley, wheat, and rye, grown on the farm and from the forage.
“By raising the pigs on green growing foliage, it’s cooler, not dusty and dirty,” says Rodney Dowse, former Farm Director of Belcampo. “They are mentally in a great place because they can run around and graze and exude all sorts of natural behaviors.”
Belcampo pigs are never confined to gestation or farrowing crates, which meets Humane Farm Animal Care’s standards. As a result, they can farrow (give birth) on pasture anytime of the year. Individual hoop houses, located on hillsides, provide shade, shelter, and warmth for a sow and her litter. “We add straw just before she delivers, and she will root around and make a nest or bed for her pending litter of piglets,” says Rodney.
Ten days later, the sow and her litter move out of the hoop houses onto the surrounding grounds. At two- to three-weeks-old, the mother and piglets are moved to a pasture with grass, grubs, turnips, legumes, and alfalfa, “which improves their overall health,” says Rodney.
Belcampo controls every aspect of its supply chain. They raise their animals on their farm and operate their own USDA-inspected, and Certified Humane® approved processing facility, designed by Temple Grandin, the nation’s premier compassionate farm animal handling expert. They use low-stress animal handling practices throughout the pigs’ lives ensuring the animals are treated with compassion and respect.
“We are present when the animals are born and with them every day to make sure they are handled in the most compassionate way,” says Rodney.
Anya Fernald, CEO of Belcampo says, “Certified Humane® fits our philosophy and model as well as our consumer direction. We are a very ecologically focused company, which helps us produce the best food possible. Working in the best interest of the animals and the environment is who we are.”
To learn more, visit their website at: Belcampo
For information on where to find other Certified Humane® products in your area, visit the “Shop” page of HFAC’s website.