By: Erin Oswald
What did you have for your Easter dinner? Was there by any chance a ham present at the dinner table? For my family, the Easter ham almost has its own designated place at the table! My own family Easter traditions include waking up early Sunday morning to attend a sunrise service then dash to the basement of church for a vast breakfast brunch that includes fresh cinnamon rolls, fruit salads, and of course, those delicious egg casseroles loaded with salty and savory ham! After church, the lunch preparation begins in anticipation as family members pull into the driveway and carry dishes of frosted cookies, cheesy potatoes, and of course, the star of the meal: the ham. Memories include loading the ham onto the plate first to create the setting for the rest of the complimentary side dishes and returning to the food line a few times for those extra helpings of ham mixed with green beans or maybe those creamy, cheesy potatoes. Perhaps your Easter tradition is similar to mine!
The tradition of having ham, however, goes much deeper than buying a ham and placing it on the table for my family and many others who are a part of the pork Industry. For these producers, Easter begins about six months earlier, when piglets are born. For the next several months, the producers care for the pigs by feeding them and moving them to new facilities as they grow. Careful day-in and day-out attention is given to these pigs for their preparation for the dinner tables of America. Without the efforts of pork producers, the star of Easter dinner would be absent from the celebration.
The raising of those pigs stretches beyond the Easter table to many other family events. These include the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas, summer picnics, birthday celebrations, and an endless list of other occasions. The next time a delicious cut of pork is placed on your dinner table, especially next Easter, think of the pork producers who provided the star of the meal and be extra thankful for the care given to raise your meat to provide nourishment and family bonding!