A local pork producer does things the right way, with exceptional results
Paul and Ember Crivellaro raise pigs. Really good pigs. Pigs good enough to fill the sausages and top the pizzas at acclaimed Philadelphia restaurants Vetri and Osteria and satiate the beer drinkers at Standard Tap and Johnny Brenda’s. But it wasn’t always that way: In 1996, the hog market had bottomed out. The Crivellaros were selling pork for 10 cents a pound—without Paul’s day job, the farm never would have survived.
So, Paul did some research, reaching out to folks in Philadelphia. A friend eventually put him in touch with St. Joseph’s University marketing students who were tackling, as their senior project, connecting local farmers with local restaurants. What started with one restaurant has now grown to almost 15. Crivellaro also sells his pork at the Reading Terminal’s Fair Food Farmstand, the Phoenixville Farmers’ Market and the Kimberton Whole Foods.
So what makes his pigs (mostly Big Black and Gloucestershire heritage breeds) so special? “Our pigs are raised humanely,” says Crivellaro. “What the public is buying in the general grocery stores today versus our product? There’s no comparison.”
Crivellaro has lived on farms his whole life, but over the last few years, through his involvement in PASA and the sustainable farming community, he has gained more than customers. “People want to know where their food is coming from,” he says. “They care about the sustainable farmers, the local farmers. The small family farmer is dying out, and they care. Through the last few years, my wife and I have found a lot of friends through this. Not just customers—we consider them friends.”