Of all the heritage breeds of livestock that Blake DeHuff raises, his claim to fame remains the Mangalitsa pigs.
The pigs, whose lineage dates to the early 1800s in Hungary, are prized by chefs because the pork features high-quality, lard-type fat that produces juicy, flavorful meat.
In fact, DeHuff found demand to be so high locally that he knew he needed more room for more pigs beyond his Rocky Mountain Organic Farms property in Black Forest. So he launched a search for affordable, sustainable land where he could increase his Mangalitsa herd to a size that could supply the needs of chefs such as Brother Luck, owner of Four by Brother Luck and Lucky Dumpling in Colorado Springs.
“Brother knows how special these heritage meats are,” he said. “But I could not promise to have a pig ready for him when he ran out of meat and needed the next one. If he had Mangalitsa pork on the menu, I needed to have my herd and breeding program consistent.”
In May, DeHuff struck gold near Victor, finding 51 acres of horse ranch property. After buying the land, he moved his operations to the high country, where his pigs could graze in three pastures. He plans to fence off two more pastures to accommodate more animals.
The new venture is more than simply a place to raise heritage livestock, however. The land is being developed into a “high-altitude health and wellness center, based on agriculture and agritourism,” he said.
The peaceful setting with incredible views has been renamed Grey Wolf Resort and now can be enjoyed by guests, who can rent a cottage studio, a barn loft with full kitchen and master bedroom and bath, or two private bedrooms.
“We have a women’s retreat (this) week,” DeHuff said. “And butcher Jason Neuart is bringing a group of Fort Carson soldiers up in a couple of weeks to learn about butchering and cooking animals. We are open to hosting weddings, music festivals and farm-to-table dinners.”
It’s a big step from where he began. In 2012, DeHuff’s in-laws came to Colorado to build their retirement home on 20 acres in the forest. DeHuff, his wife and their son settled on 10 acres of the property, where he started expanding his farming and livestock business.
A big part of his desire to raise his own food stems from his interest in healthy eating. At first, he fed his small flock of chickens and pigs organic commercial feed.
“When we butchered our first chickens, I found the meat smelled like the bagged feed I had been using to feed the animals,” he said. “That wasn’t what I was after. I had been smelling the feed every day, and the last thing I wanted was to eat chicken that smelled like it.”
That’s when he began researching ways to create his own feed, with the intent of raising healthier animals that didn’t have an unpleasant smell. He developed a mix of organic grains, legumes and supplements that he plants in pastures alongside vegetables and other greens. That’s what his free-range pigs graze on — they never are fed corn or soy.
The results eventually paved the way to Victor.
Nathan Dirnberger, an award-winning chef, assists DeHuff with marketing and is the on-site chef. For more information, call Dehuff at 1-248-910-7002 or Dirnberger at 1-808-755-9013. Visit greywolfresort.com.
Contact the writer: 636-0271