Humane Pig Farmer Gets Ganked By Smithfield in Whole Hog Cookbook

If you haven't had a chance to read the amazing exchange on The Gurgling Cod about the whole Smithfield / Libbie Summers / Caw Caw Creek / Whole Hog Cookbook / Emile DeFelice debacle, with some Anthony Bourdain thrown in for good measure on the Twittahs, you're in for a food nerd treat.

Although having images of your Certified Humane pastured pig farm uncredited in a cookbook branded by Smithfield most decidedly is not a treat.

Here's the meat:

OK, so you clicked on the link above, and you read down to Libbie Summers' comment reply to Emile's comment, right?

In case you are feeling lazy, here is Emile's comment. But go read the story -- it's quite sassy and good. I'm not going to be an A-hole and reprint The Gurgling Cod's story without permission, although I will reprint Emile's comment, which is also sassy and good.

And then LATER on The Gurgling Cod, a savvy commenter, Todd Price, cites a September 7, 2011 blog interview by Mission: Food quoting Libbie Summers thus:


I've done recipe development and such and you pretty much need to specify your ingredients fairly early on (duh?), BUT after a decade on the editorial side of the fence, I'm now a Marketing and PR Business Lady Person, and I can SO see how a powerful brand like Smithfield could just -- *tink! -- pop their name all over something before it were to hit the presses. Happens all the time.

Is that what happened? Is anyone skewering Rizzoli for this? (I did a lil Googling and I don't know if they are? Anyone? Bueller?)

Also, like the Cod and Regina Schrambling of @gastropoda, I too would like to know what the New York Times is doing reviewing a book which hawks Smithfield ham.

It's all horrifying/fascinating to read if you're from Columbia, South Carolina and know Emile DeFelice. (Props to Emile's colleague, Chef Kristian Niemi for having his back in the comments.) Horrifying because I know Emile works hard to walk the walk, every single day, with the whole humane pig husbandry thing, all while running the 100% delightful All Local Farmers Market, which is jammed with sustainable producers of high quality nom.

(In fact, I plan to drop a fair amount of elitist lady cash at that very market in the morning on humanely produced eggs from Wil-Moore Farms, bread baked with care at Heather's Artisan Bakery, locally squeezed goat cheese all fluttered up with lavender (crack) from Trail Ridge Farms, and sunflower microgreens grown at City Roots urban farm by a lovely, progressive family I am proud to call friends and colleagues.)

I shopped at Bi-Lo in Cayce, SC earlier this evening and dropped a bunch of elitist lady cash there too, but I didn't buy meat, fish, poultry or dairy (except for some jalapeno Palmetto Cheese) b/c I know that those high-dollar, high-impact foods A. aren't going to taste as good from a megafarm and B. have a truly bullsh*t effect on small, sustainable, local family farm culture.

Frankly, I am still learning about the whole machine and I'm far from knowing everything. But I do know that a pro-Big Ag attitude ticks me off, and I'm thankful for small, mindful farmers like Emile DeFelice who are also business savvy.

More discussion and followup on the Cod:

There *was* some fun stuff which resulted from the fracas, which is always nice.

Eva's story: 

That's @FreeTimesSC News Editor @YesEvaMoore, who alerted me to this craziness via tweet the other day! I love me some Eva Moore.

(OMG, btw, The Gurgling Cod is Clemson, SC-based? I totes assumed it was from further afield. That is so cool. See? South Carolina is rad in all these ways that are secretly absolutely flipping amazing. I love living here and *being* from here makes me feel even cooler. Boom.)

If you live in @ColumbiaSC, btdubs, Eva does this incredible live tweeting reportage from Columbia City Council meetings each Tuesday that is both remarkably informative and impossibly wry and witty. I follow this lion like a lamb on my mobile and I fully recommend.

Full disclosure, of course, is that I write the occasional food article for The Free Times and Eva is my editor, but I think we all have way bigger fish to fry.

Or pork to fry. Preferably the *actually* humanely raised kind.


  1. Ooh this is on top of my Saturday morning reading list now! And also the first thing that makes me want to sign up for Twitter.

  2. Reading this was a great way to start my day. Thanks to you and Emile and Eva and even Anthony. Now I'm heading to the Farmers Market!

  3. I am a FOC (Friend of the Cod). Good of you to bring all of this together. Taking a cue from you, I sent Rizzoli a short note.

  4. Just fell down this rabbit hole of food drama and am sitting a little slack jawed...keep us posted if anything else transpires.


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