Since prices for corn and soy have been on the rise, small farmers and ranchers are exploring new, free sources of livestock feed; some have turned to cannabis refuse, along with distilleries and vegetable vendors who have waste that would otherwise end up as compost or in a landfill.
BB Ranch was founded on the “Ranch to Plate” principle — connecting consumers with local ranchers raising animals fed on grass. BB Ranch buys and processes whole animals for consumers in downtown Seattle and sells them from their shop in the historic Pike Place Market.
Von Schneidau says the stems, leaves and root bulbs he salvages from Top Shelf Organic, a medical marijuana dispensary, don’t season the meat. But he claims the meat from the first few “pot pigs” he’s butchered has been “redder and more savory” than what he usually works with.
NPR’s Eliza Barclay points out that it’s not clear how much THC — the psychoactive substance in pot — ends up in the meat.
Barclay notes scientists at the European Union Food Safety Authority have explored the safety of using hemp in feed for dairy cows, and found that when the cows were fed hemp plants, enough THC made its way into their milk that the scientists recommended prohibiting its use.
To promote his pot pigs, Von Schneidau planned a Ranch to Plate dinner he called a Pot Pig Gig event, where guests met pig farmers and people with Top Shelf Organic who donated the pot. Von Schneidau says all the media attention has generated interest in the next event he’s planning.
Part of the proceeds of von Schneidau’s event went to support the Market Foundation in support of the Pike Place Market and Ranch to Plate in support of sustainable local foods and the culinary arts.