By Kay Whatley
I remember when I was a child, on Sunday mornings my mother would make breakfast of pancakes or french toast, eggs, and bacon. That bacon from decades ago had a robust taste and crunchy fat that left my brother and I vying for the last piece. Today, I found that taste from my childhood again through bacon from a local farm.
Normally I buy our bacon from the grocery store. It tastes like bacon, sure, though sometimes the flavor is muted, or extra smoke or sweetness added. The thickness is sometimes a little off, or the finished product tough to chew. It’s okay, and the few times a month I prepare it, I’m happy to have it with eggs or on a BLT sandwich. It’s a treat, but less satisfying than bacon was when I was young.
The bacon sandwich I made today, though, took me back to my childhood. It had that squishy-crispy fat. The bacon flavor was strong and the cooked strips tender — easy to chew. I’m a little (lot) older now, so my sandwich was bacon-spinach-tomato on dense bread. With this farm-bought bacon, raised just a few miles from our home, my sandwich was satisfying — even with the out-of-season tomatoes.
Where does this delicious pork belly bacon come from? From Oak Ridge Farms, located in the “Pilot” area of Franklin County, North Carolina — in a rural swath just outside the town of Zebulon. Owner-farmer David Duong raises pigs and chickens, participates in the Zebulon Farm Fresh Market, and earlier this year donated a 210-lb pig to the Zebulon United Methodist Church food pantry.
Oak Ridge Farms sells belly bacon (which I purchased) alongside jowl bacon and Irish bacon. Depending on the bacon you grew up with, or how you eat it, one of the farm’s options might remind you of the good-old-days when most food was fresh and local.
Yes, the bacon straight from this farm cost more than store bacon. For the taste, it was worth it. I’ll gladly enjoy this locally made bacon from time-to-time rather than eat store-bacon several times a month.
Plus, I like knowing that the money went to this local farmer — benefiting the local economy — rather than into the pocket of a billionaire hundreds of miles away.
Shop Local. Eat Local. Support Local Farmers.