TJ & Victoria Murray
Ontario Pork Producers | Oxford County, ON
Victoria and TJ raise pigs on their Ontario pork farm from the time they’re weaned until they’re ready for market. Always on call to respond to the needs of their farm and animals, it’s key that their home is just a few hundred yards from their barn. While the demands are constant, they still find time to help out within their community.
TJ has largely taken on the farm operations, succeeding his father. Victoria had no prior experience on the farm but has embraced the community and the lifestyle. “We try and give back to the community as much as we can,” they share. “Whether it be on the farm or in our personal life. We’re always trying to help with education of our industry in the community and anywhere that we can. Food banks, for example, we try and donate when we can. TJ is a firefighter on our local fire department and does all of our fire prevention work through the schools.”
Visitors to the Murray’s place will soon see that this multi-generational farm is a family home, with strong business and contemporary values in evidence. “In my younger years, I always wanted to be the biggest,” TJ asserts. “In today’s world, I want to be the best.”
Not long ago, Chef Eva Chin visited the Murray family farm to learn more about local pork and pork farming. As a chef who recently moved from B.C. to Ontario, and a passionate advocate for whole animal cuisine and sustainability within the food supply chain, it was important for Eva to ask questions and see how Ontario pork is raised first hand. They hit it off, and TJ was proud to show Eva around the farm and point out their many investments and innovations in environment and animal care.
“I believe that all farmers in Ontario are on the same page. We’re protecting our land and our water as much as we can between using cover crops to help prevent erosion of the land to solar panels to help bring down our carbon footprint. We’re using every tool possible that we can in our sustainability practices. Educating people in the community off-farm is something we can’t get enough of. The farther we move on in life, the more disconnection the consumer has to the farm. If we can tighten that gap and get the education to the consumer, that would be great.”
TJ and Eva bonded over a shared belief that many pork cuts are under-loved and under-utilized. Asked which cut he’d like to see on more restaurant menus and dinner tables, TJ didn’t hesitate. “I personally love pig tails. I believe pig tails are an undervalued product in the market because they take a little bit of time to prepare.”
TJ likes his pig tails boiled, then barbecued, but his favourite dish over all is pork tenderloin.
Giving Back to Community
Family Farms in Ontario
IT'S ALL ABOUT THE CONNECTIONS, TRUST, AND LOCAL FOOD.
Chefs Eva Chin and Michael Hunter visit Ontario pork farms and form the bonds that last all the way to the plate.