The Fatback Pig Project is an endeavor that grew out of a collaborative effort by the Fatback Collective, a group of chefs, restaurateurs, and entrepreneurs whose purpose is to invest energy, experience, and influence in a concentrated effort to develop stronger communities.
Founded by the original owner of the Jim ‘N Nicks chain of Barbeque restaurants, Nick Pihakis, the Fatback Collective includes Southern chefs Donald Link, John Currence, Ashley Christensen, Sean Brock, and Southern Foodways Alliance director John T. Edge.
These members became aware that small hog farming had either declined or even disappeared in much of the South’s agricultural landscape. This gave rise to discussions to determine the source of pigs that each member desired to use in their individual businesses. It was decided that it could not be just any animal, instead it had to be an animal that was all natural, raised humanely, and processed as close to the farm as possible. Old school breeds like Berkshire, Duroc, Yorkshire, and Mangalista are the pigs of choice.
Ultimately this heritage breed of livestock produces an animal known for its flavor, tenderness, fat marbling, a durability in certain climates, and a breed that fosters good mothering instincts in the sows. Starting first in Alabama, the Fatback Pig Project’s goal is to bring back small hog farming by recruiting new and existing farmers who want to grow hogs by their standards and processing those hogs at their abattoir in Eva, Alabama.
What the Fatback Pig Project is accomplishing is very simple. We raise a heritage line of pork in an all-natural environment, yielding a unique product that supports small farmers in Alabama, as well as the processing of the hogs puts Alabamians back to work.