Traverse City Record-Eagle

August 29, 2013

Michigan farmers are raising what some call the 'Kobe beef' of pork

MELISSA ANDERS
MLive.com

---- — WILLIAMSTOWN TOWNSHIP (AP) — They’re furry, they’re fatty, and apparently delicious.

After nearly facing extinction, the Mangalitsa pig is making a comeback in Europe and the United States thanks to the work of Michigan farmers like Wilhelm Kohl, who was among the first to import the pig to the U.S.

“They are becoming much more popular in the United States, and for that fact in Europe, simply because people have realized that a pig without any fat on it is tasteless,” Kohl told MLive.com. “And factory pig production has reached a point where you have maybe less than 10 percent fat on a regular factory produced pig. So a Mangalitsa pig is like the Kobe beef of pork.”

A blonde Mangalitsa carcass is roughly 60 percent fat, said Kohl, a native of Austria who runs the Pure Mangalitsa breeding operation with business partner Marc Santucci on a 51-acre farm in Williamstown Township, about 10 miles outside of Lansing.

The pair recently welcomed breeders from throughout the United States as well as Peter Toth, known as the “Godfather” of this specialty swine, for a daylong meeting capped off with a snout-to-tail dinner of Mangalitsa pork at Red Haven restaurant in Meridian Township.