In like a lion, out like a…pig? Yes indeed! March 2010 marked the first #internationalpigday that quickly became Pig Month here in Prince Edward County.
-County Farmer Blaine Way on the state of the pork industry right now. He is hopeful that initiatives like International Pig Day celebrations next month will help create opportunities to sell his product locally since the bottom has fallen out of the export market.
(QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Picton Gazette, February 26, 2010)
On Monday February 22, 2010 a group of local pig farmers, processors, promoters and media gathered at Buddha Dog on Main Street Picton for the announcement of the first annual International Pig Day in Prince Edward County. Buddha Dog is working with local pig farmer Blaine Way of Milford and Ted Aman of Aman’s Abattoir in Wellington to create their first “Pork Dog”; the dog was sampled at the event and was a smash hit. Also included in Buddha Dog’s Pork Dog feature was Black River cheddar, an apple/onion chutney by local chef Michael Potters and Sage Buns Pastry House Bakery proprietor Peter Grendel.
Local Pork board director Oliver Haan was in attendance, saying that without the support of local food initiatives in conjunction with direct marketing and sales that pig farming would not survive.
Based on media interest from Toronto writers (generated through the Social Media network of the EDO and Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance Executive Director Rebecca LeHeup), a second press conference was scheduled at the Toronto Buddha Dog location three days later.
The Toronto event was also well attended with over 15 members of the press who showed up to sample the dog and hear the story about pork in Prince Edward County. They were directed to video streams of the Picton event that were immediately uploaded to the PEC Youtube channel to see and hear what our producers and processors had to say about Pig Day.
Recognizing opportunity to stimulate economic growth is the primary responsibility of an Economic Development Office (EDO); these opportunities can often manifest in exciting, cutting edge ways. As the world moves toward a new era of Social Media networking, PEC’s EDO Team is making it a top priority to understand and utilize this technological opportunity to destroy barriers of geographic distance and bring the various messages of local business to the desired markets. The Pig Day Media Release and Press Days were a prime example of the power of Social Media tools to get a message to the desired audiences quickly.
Twitter is a Social Media platform where businesses and individual connect and “tweet” communicate with one another using a series of short messages. It was the tool EDO used to gauge interest in celebrating Pig Day upon Dan Taylor’s return from an investment attraction mission where he got the idea from US contacts. The response from the Twitter world was positive and strong, prompting local business owner Andrew Mackenzie of Buddha Dog to connect with Blaine Way to acquire a pig and Ted Aman of Aman’s Abattoir to create Buddha Dog’s first ever Pig Dog. Recognizing this as an opportunity to tell the story of local pork producers using value add products as a way to make pork farming viable, EDO immediately set in motion the Pig Day Media Days. The rest unfolded naturally.
The objective of these efforts is to draw attention to the value add opportunities and encourage stakeholders to work together to dream up opportunities that can transform ag-related products into financially viable business models. The pig dog is one example of an effective value-add use of pork, but countless others remain untapped including salami, various sausages and specialty bacon products.
Having accessed funding dollars through Savour Ontario, the EDO is organizing a pig roast on Tuesday, March 30 as a part of the annual Harvestin’ Farmer-Chef Meet and Greet. The meet and greet is an opportunity for chefs to make direct connections with local farmers and facilitate buying locally grown. Pig farmers will be featured prominently at this event, as will other kinds of farmers; a new addition this year at the meet and greet will be wineries, the County’s newest kind of farm.
Local business owners can learn more about the power of Social Media and how t access it at a series of free, brown-bag lunches called #SMBB hosted every Friday by the EDO in the large boardroom on the second floor of The Edward Building, 280 Main Street, Picton.
Recipes for International Pig Day
Facebook fan page for International Pig Day
Twitter references to International Pig Day
YouTube videos for International Pig Day
Flickr photo album for International Pig Day 2010
Media Release for International Pig Day 2010