Buying a whole pig is a way many customers dip their toe into the wholesale world. It doesn’t require a ton of freezer space, there are fun options for sausages, and – everyone’s favorite – bacon. While the process of buying a whole (or half) pig is similar to the process of buying a half or whole beef, there are some notable differences.

Here, we will go over how the process works at Hayfield Farm both from the customer’s point of view and behind the scenes. From farm to farm, the process and pricing can vary. Be sure to talk to your farmer to get all of the details just so there are no surprises.

First, you let us know that you are interested.
You’ve gone over the details on our Wholesale page , you’ve paid your deposit and downloaded and filled out the Whole Hog Cut Sheet or Half Hog Cut Sheet. To reserve your Butcher Date, we need your completed cut sheet and your $250 non-refundable deposit. 

The Cut Sheet
One of the most intimidating pieces in the process of buying a whole pig or half a pig is the cut sheet. The cut sheet is your specifications for how you want all of your pork to be cut and packaged. If you are purchasing half a pig, you are deciding how every single cut from one side of the entire pig is done. If you are purchasing a whole pig, you are deciding how each cut from the entire pig is done. Our butcher, Fauquier’s Finest, has specific guidelines that farms and their customers must follow.

Behind the scenes of the Butcher Date 
Each farm that works with our butcher, Fauquier’s Finest, is scheduled at the beginning of the year for their slots. At Hayfield Farm, we have multiple livestock that go into the butcher weekly. These pre-scheduled slots, between the farm and the butcher, are called “Kill Dates”. Sorry, y’all – there are some terms that are used in this process that are cringey, but are necessary in defining each step. The Kill Date is, you guessed it, the day the hog is hauled to the butcher by us and is then killed and dressed by the butcher. Once the steer is killed, according to strict humane USDA-standards, it is dressed. Dressing is when the steer is skinned and the innards, and other parts that are not eaten, are removed.
Outside of this article, our Kill Dates are called our Butcher Dates. The Butcher Date is not the pick up date.

Butcher Date & Hanging Weight
The Butcher Date is the day that the animal is killed, dressed, and put on the hook in the cold room. This is the date that customers reserve. Once it is on the hook in the cold room, the hanging weight is recorded. The hanging weight is the weight of the carcass, after the hog has been dressed and is hanging.

Pricing at Hayfield Farm
The price that you, the customer, pays is $2.95/lb on the hanging weight, plus processing and tax. The processing fee can vary greatly depending on what customers choose for smoking, curing, and sausage options. Customers can expect to spend $200-$400 in processing fees for a whole hog and $100-$200 in processing fees for a half hog. It just depends on which options you choose on your cut sheet. The processing fee is calculated by the butcher once the pork is complete, as it depends on the weight of each cut and selection. The $2.95/lb hanging weight price is added to the processing fee, tax is added, and the $250.00 deposit is subtracted. You will not receive your remaining balance invoice from us until your pork is complete.
This remaining balance invoice must be paid by card, via the invoice. The remaining balance is due prior to pick up.

What to expect for your Hanging Weight
The average hanging weight can vary greatly from farm to farm. It depends on the farm’s feed management, which breeds they butcher, their product goals, and many other factors. Hanging weight also varies from hog to hog, as each animal is different.
At Hayfield Farm, we have target live weights, hanging weights, and finish weights. We monitor our animals and their weight closely so we can remain consistent, both in price and quality, for our customers.
At Hayfield Farm, our whole hogs generally have a hanging weight around 210 pounds and our half hogs generally have a hanging weight around 105 pounds.

Behind the Scenes at the Butcher – Cutting 
The butcher takes your cut sheet and gets to work. The carcass is broken down into large primal cuts – shoulder, ham, rib, loin, etc. The butcher then hand trims and cuts each and every primal into individual cuts – boston butts, hams, pork chops, ribs, etc. Bacon goes into the cure and then the smokehouse, if that is what you’ve chosen. All of the trimmings are made into ground pork. Any sections that the customer marked to grind on their cut sheet are also made into ground pork.

Behind the Scenes at the Butcher – Sausage
Our butcher has many options for sausages – from brats and grillers, to loose, to breakfast sausages, and more! Ground pork is made from the trimmings and anything the customer chooses to “grind” on their cut sheet. The more the customer chooses to “grind” the more ground pork is available for sausage making.

Behind the Scenes at the Butcher – Packaging
Our butcher uses high-quality commercial vacuum-sealed packaging. We love it! This not only keeps your meat fresher longer, but it also prevents freezer burn and makes the cuts very easy to organize. Bone guards are used to protect the plastic from piercing. With proper handling and storage, this grade of vacuum-seal keeps pork for over two years.

Behind the Scenes at the Butcher – Labeling
Each cut is labeled with Hayfield Farm, our address, the weight of that specific cut (super helpful for roast and ham recipes!), and other USDA-required verbiage.

Behind the Scenes at the Butcher – Flash Freeze
Each cut is flash frozen. Flash freezing is required by USDA and locks in the fresh flavors of each cut.

It’s DONE!
Once your cuts are frozen through and ready to go, the butcher reaches out to us and lets us know that it is ready for pick up. We notify you immediately, via email. Our customers pick up their meat from the butcher shop at their convenience. Please be sure to pay your remaining balance invoice prior to pick up. The butcher will not release your meat to you until you have paid.
Our butcher, Fauquier’s Finest, is located at 11746 Ag Industrial Drive, Bealeton VA and they’re open 9am to 4pm, Monday-Friday for pick up.

Pick up
For a whole pork, you will need 200 quarts in cooler space total. For a half pork, you will need 100 quarts in cooler space total. Pro tip: it is much better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.
Once you arrive at the butcher shop, check in at the front desk. Let the staff know you are picking up a half (or whole) hog for *your last name* under Hayfield Farm. You do not owe the butcher any payment. The staff will direct you around back to the loading dock, where they will roll out your cart filled with pork! You’ll load up your coolers and head home to stock your freezer with natural local pork that you can feel good about.

Timeline
This entire process of buying a whole or half pig takes our butcher approximately two to three weeks to complete.