Best of all, $10 from each bundle sold will go to Safe Haven Animal Sanctuary in New York!
This bundle will be available through the holidays. It includes our Pandolfi Price Larkun Chardonnay, Luca di Tomaso Montefalco Rosso, and Eraldo Dentici Montefalco Rosso, as well as Rebecca’s plant-based recipes for:
- Homemade Onion Gravy
- Apple-Cranberry Corn Bread Stuffing
- Sweet Potato Casserole (GF)
- Port and Cinnamon Cranberry Sauce (GF), and
- Southern Biscuits
A Message from Frances and Rebecca at Safe Haven Animal Sanctuary
Althea’s Rescue Story (from Rebecca)
In September 2018, a horrific pot-bellied pig hoarding situation was discovered on a breeding farm in Kentucky. 458 distressed pigs were found malnourished and fending for themselves. Some were pregnant, which resulted in more than 500 pigs who needed immediate care and homes to keep them from being euthanized. Three years prior, a woman decided to breed a few pigs and her farm ballooned into an out-of-control breeding disaster.
I first learned about the case in USA Today. The article was titled “458 pigs hoarded on Kentucky farm will be euthanized if not rescued, nonprofit says.” The article stated that they have never seen a hoarding case of this magnitude. I started researching and located the sanctuaries that were handling this operation. Atti’s Acres in Kentucky and Cotton Branch Farm Sanctuary in South Carolina were the heroes who took over the farm, raised funds to spay/neuter all the pigs, found responsible and caring people to adopt, and set up hubs all over the country to transport all of the pigs to their forever homes.
My instinct was to reach out, unbeknown to my husband, and submit an online request for adoption. I wasn’t sure if I would receive a response and after a couple of weeks of not hearing anything, I thought it wasn’t meant to be. I continued to be glued to Cotton Branch Farm Sanctuary’s Facebook page. Evan and Josh, angels on Earth as I refer to them, posted daily videos of the rescued pigs and their progress. They took turns going to and from the breeding farm while running their own sanctuary in South Carolina. I know they endured many sleepless nights, but their compassion and determination kept them focused on their goal of finding homes for all of the pigs. They are truly one of a kind.
A few weeks after I submitted the adoption form, I got a call. I was interviewed and asked many questions to ensure I would be able to care for a pot-bellied pig. I broke the news to my family, which led to equal amounts of excitement and concern. I sent Evan, per his request, videos of our backyard and indoors so they could see if our home was suitable. And then we waited for what felt like forever (only a month or so). I can’t imagine how overwhelming this process must have been for the sanctuaries and their volunteers. To ensure the pigs were all healthy before being adopted, interview all the people that would adopt over 500 pigs, and find a way to get the pigs to their forever homes all over the country was a monstrous task and it took time.
On November 2, 2018, we were notified that 8 pigs had been delivered to a sanctuary 4.5 hours from our house. Two days later, we were on the road to meet our newest family member. When we arrived at Southern Tier Pig Rescue, we were encouraged to go in the pen and spend some time with the rescues. They were all adorable and we would have chosen any one of them but my husband connected with Althea. Her estimated age was 10 months and she weighed about 60 lbs. We had heard stories of pigs who were estimated to mature at 120 lbs but ended up weighing 600 lbs! We hoped for the best.
We drove Althea home and once we arrived, we allowed plenty of time for her to get comfortable with her new surroundings. She had a large crate in our den and spent the first few weeks exploring the den and part of our yard. She was introduced to our three cats and our daughter, who was 13 at the time. I’d be lying if I said it was smooth sailing. We were very aware of what she endured and expected hiccups. Between our lack of knowledge on how to raise a pig and the cruel situation she had just come from, we had some obstacles ahead. Pigs are very intelligent animals and can be trained, but they are unlike any other traditional pet. They can be headstrong, sensitive, territorial, and sometimes even display dominant/aggressive behavior. Our job was to provide her with consistency, discipline, love, patience, and lots of opportunities to be a pig.
Althea lives both indoors and outdoors. We built her a 12’x16′ pen right behind our house. She spends the day rooting and being a pig in her pen. This is also where she goes to the bathroom. She typically eats her breakfast (high-quality pig feed) and lunch (a big salad that consists of whatever fruit and vegetables we have on hand) outside. Althea is a vegan just like us!
At 6 pm, she is ready to come in and lets us know by banging on the door of her pen. She comes in, eats her dinner (a homemade mix of lentils, oats, millet, black oil sunflower seeds, and brown rice), and spends the rest of the night relaxing on the couch until bedtime. This is when we spend time with her cuddling and giving her belly rubs. She loves her routine and depends on it. When we travel, we have a wonderful friend and sitter who takes excellent care of her.
Finding information and supplies for her can be difficult. While there are unlimited resources for domestic pets, that’s not the case for pigs. I really have to search to get some of my questions answered. The first year of having Althea was the most challenging, of course, and we had some rough moments. When she was going through some difficult stages of aggressiveness, we thought this may not be sustainable for the 20+ years she may be with us. We had moments of doubting if she was good for our family and if our family was good for her. We learned a lot in that first year.
Over my lifetime, I’ve had quite a few rescued animals – rabbits, dogs, cats – that brought challenges, but she was by far the most challenging. Althea now weighs 125 lbs and she’s solid! There’s no getting her to do what she doesn’t want to do. It took me 2 years to really get to know her. Now, she brightens our day with her antics, like when she “twerks” against surfaces when she has an itch or how she wags her tail excitedly when she sees us. And no matter how many cozy blankets we put in her crate, she tears them into tiny shreds because that’s the way she wants them.
We are still earning her trust and love, but every day it gets better. Our love for her is strong and we can’t imagine her being anywhere but with us. With all the progress that we accomplished over the last couple of years, we know for certain that this is meant to be. It has become clear that she is happy and content! With all great relationships come periods of doubt, hard work, and acceptance. My hope is that her memories of the first few months of her life fade away and she only knows feelings of being safe and loved. I think we are almost there.
I am thankful for the opportunity we were given to provide her with what she deserves and we look forward to the many years ahead with our Althea.
Rotini’s Rescue Story (from Joanna)
My boyfriend and I have both always loved pigs, and we talked about getting one as a pet as romantic pillow talk. I wanted to rescue one and we looked every day for about a year. An accidental pregnancy occurred on a rescue farm nearby and we drove over to see Rotini. The rest is history. As animal lovers, we both viewed adopting Rotini as part of a meaningful effort to bring awareness to the general public that many animals that we consider as livestock for food, including pigs, are in fact smart and loving beings.
Rotini is extremely sweet. He is really smart and loves to learn new things. He also is extremely cuddly. When he wants to sleep and one of us is on the couch, he will climb on us. Rotini has been well socialized around people, meeting many other pets and children at the park and birthday parties. He now jumps into the car and is comfortable on car rides. Rotini is a happy pig and enjoys his time at the park and his Grandma and Grandpa’s backyard.
Rotini shows love in his own way (differently from traditional pets or humans). He gives breath-heavy kisses if he hasn’t seen you in a while, and he likes to burrow closely next to you when he gets tired. Contrary to popular belief, pigs are very clean animals, and it’s funny to see Rotini avoid puddles and mud. One surprising thing is how dirty humans are—Rotini finds food everywhere and often it is from trash thrown onto the ground. He has found cookies, pizza, and fries all on his walks and trips to the park.
Rotini is such a joy and brings so much happiness into our lives. He helps bring awareness to veganism and animal rights.
Follow Rotini’s story @MyVeganPig