Far from “the other white meat,” the deep red pork raised on 75-acre Sweet Cypress Farm east of Estero is inherently healthy, says farmer Scott Hayes. One of his secrets? He “finishes off” his Berkshire, Ossabaw Island, and hybrid hogs with the organic carambola and lychee fruit he grows at the farm. His laying hens, too, get treated to fruit—tomatoes and papayas that give their eggs a rich yolk that is more orange than traditional yellow.
All livestock on the farm are pasture-fed and free-range. “Our chickens live on a diet of all-natural corn, milo, millet, oats, and rye,” says Hayes. The eggs, he claims, contain one-third less cholesterol and one-quarter less saturated fat, but more beta carotene, vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids than regular store-bought eggs.
The Ossabaw hog, a rare breed descended from Spanish colonial pigs and molecularly dwarfed by isolation on a Georgia island, has a reputation as the “olive oil pig.”
“The [dwarfing] effect on the fat in the hog was remarkable,” says Hayes, who renders its lard for sale. “It results in polyunsaturated meat that has super-high oleic acid and omega-3 fatty acids. The lard is creamy and buttery. It is the rarest pig in the United States, and we are registered with the Livestock Conservancy.”
Hayes sells his livestock products—as well as organic fruits and vegetables—to the public by advance order, and he offers a tour of the farm by appointment only.
“A lot of people do good,” says Hayes, who is also a trained chef. “I don’t want to do just good. And the end product is only as good as what you’re putting in. Incredible ingredients produce incredible food.”