Around our area, the longleaf pine forest, a beautiful forest with high biodiversity that thrives with natural fire, is being disrupted by the rooting of wild pigs. A part of the solution is a humane trapping program to harvest the wild boar, restore forest ecology, and make smoked meat products to drive the initiative.
Longleaf pine forests once stretched across 90M acres from Virginia to Texas. Today they are reduced to a tiny remnant and dependent on humans for intensive management.
Most of the southern pine forests you know are on sites that once were longleaf. Real longleaf forests are a haven for game like deer, turkeys, and quail, and are full of rare native plants like butterfly pea and pitcher plants. Fire burns naturally in the longleaf forest, in a way that replenishes the soil and the plants, not like a wildfire. Dangerous wildfires are caused by uncontrolled fire in forests that have been disturbed by development or logging. Good prescribed burns in longleaf are healthy and safe when supervised properly, and restore nature.
Wild boar are enemies of longleaf pine. Boar are not native to North America, but were brought here and turned loose. They root up the longleaf seedlings and destroy the nests of quail and turkeys, and they compete with deer for food. They do a lot of other destructive things, too, rooting up corn and soybeans, destroying levees, and rooting up lawns. By trapping these pigs and butchering them up for sausage, we are helping get rid of a menace to the forest.
Private trappers contract with landowners to trap their wild boar and remove them from their land. They bring the boar to us, and if they pass inspection from the agriculture department we purchase them. Then we follow a fully inspected meat processing program to make Charlie’s Wild Boar Smoked Sausage. We mix the pork with salt and our special recipe of seasonings and stuff them in natural casings. We use a real wood-fired smokehouse with water oak firewood to impart a natural smoky flavor. We pack the sausage in convenient packs, and ship them to a grocery store near you. With every pack you buy we donate 5% of profits back to longleaf pine forest conservation.
We are working to set up programs with groups like The Nature Conservancy and the Longleaf Alliance to conserve this endangered habitat and help restore nature’s bounty. Climate change is a challenge for all our ecosystems, but longleaf forests have been here for 25M years. We want to be sure they are still here for our kids when we pass on.