Mulefoot hogs making a footprint in family’s farm-to-fork operation

Mulefoot pigs at the Littrell Family Farm (KTVO)

Pork is the other white meat -- but there's a type of pig raised on one family farm in Northeast Missouri, that makes meat that is instead, red.

It's one of the oldest and rarest breeds in the country, and you may have never even heard the name before: Mulefoot pigs.

For the last four years, the Littrell family has been raising them on their farm just outside of Green City.

“Everybody around here does a lot of cattle, we wanted to do something a little different, something that we knew we could feed and that we could put on our table and we knew where everything was coming from, so this is what he came up with and it’s been quite a family project,” said Barbara Littrell.

The mulefoot pigs get their names from their hooves, which aren’t split like a regular pig’s hooves are.

An uncommon breed, that came from an unexpected place.

“They thought that they were extinct, but they found a couple left on a little island on the Mississippi River in Southeast Missouri, and they brought them to the mainland, and we’ve been trying to keep them going ever since,” Littrell said.

How the pigs are raised affects the meat they produce.

“We raise them on pasture, they’re grass fed just like a cow would be out on the grass, and so they have to forage for their feed. We do supplement some, you can see they’re eating pumpkins, we grew those pumpkins,” Littrell said. “They forage, and they move around, they’re not being confined, they do grow quite a bit of muscle instead of just all lard and fat and you can see that in the steaks, that they’re more of the red meat, rather than white with the yellow fat, and the fat that there is, is pure white.”

A one of a kind, pumpkin eating, pasture feeding pig, that’s an important part of the Littrell Family Farm.

“They are still a very rare breed, I think last we knew there were maybe 300 registered in the country,” Littrell said.

The Littrells sell the pork at the Kiwanis Farmers Market in Kirksville.

The University of Missouri Extension in Sullivan County is planning a Rural Showcase on Tuesday, Oct. 3rd from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in Green City, in the Green City Park, with a meal provided.

A tour of the Littrell Family Farm will be at 6 p.m.

For additional information on the Rural Showcase, contact the Sullivan County Extension Office at 660-265-4541.

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