Arizona Daily Star from Tucson, Arizona on August 9, 2000 · Page 65
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Arizona Daily Star from Tucson, Arizona · Page 65

Tucson, Arizona
Issue Date:
Wednesday, August 9, 2000
Page 65
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Freshening bread Freshen dried bread by wrapping in a damp towel and placing in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Remove the towel and heat in the oven for a few minutes. I Pima County Extension Office B: "V Jt J X ARIZONA DAILY STAR SERVING TUCSON SINCE 1077 Wednesday August 9, 2(W SKCTION SO ! 1 I- -I J '1 t i Like the huge pork companies, the Beck family's hog farm and store near Willcox can do it all, from raising pigs t o retailing them By Richard Bruner SPECIAL TO THE ARIZONA DAILY STAR During a 1963 blizzard, Larry and Ruth Beck saw an advertisement that made their lives on a small hog farm in Oconomowoc, Wis., seem colder than was necessary. Larry picked up the phone and called a telephone number in Cochise, Ariz. He applied for the advertised job as manager of an Arizona hog farm, far from the frozen pastures of Wisconsin. "The day he answered the ad," said his son Bob, "was the day he got the job." The senior Becks moved with their two boys, Bob and Larry Jr., to the Cochise farm. Beck managed the farm until its owners died and the bank took possession in 1970. Then he and his wife bought an 80-acre farm across the road and moved onto it. Today, that farm keeps about 200 crossbred sows, down from a peak of 400 in the 1970s. The sows, Hampshire-Yorkshire hybrids, deliver about two-and-a-half litters of eight to nine piglets a year. More than half of them are raised to a 6-month-old weight of about 250 pounds, then slaughtered and processed for sale in the Becks' retail store on Birch Road and U.S. 191 in Cochise. Others are sold to slaughterhouses in California, and still others, while in the piglet . stage, are sold to 4-H youngsters throughout Arizona and outside the state. The Beck pigs are known for their (county fair) prize-winning quality. They are also prized for other qualities by customers who travel from Tucson, Green Valley and, occasionally, Phoenix to the Beck store Sulphur Springs Meat Packers to buy ham, bacon, sausage and pork cuts. Some of the meat is sold to restaurants in Sunsites, Sierra Vista and Tombstone. The ham, bacon and sausage are all smoked in the Becks' own smokehouse. The farm and the retail operation are managed separately. Larry Jr., 51, runs the farm, breeding and raising the hogs and selling them to California slaughterhouses and 4- H-club members. Brother Bob, 46, is in charge of slaughtering, processing and smoking. Their mother, Ruth, now a widow, runs the retail store. Hog farmers have dwindled to a precious few in Arizona According to Tom Miller of the Arizona Pork Council, there are only two other hog raisers of any consequence in the state besides the Becks: Farmer John in Snowflake and Pioneer Pork in Chandler. There are no other slaughterhouses that process pork for the retail market other than the Becks of Sulphur Springs. Miller himself has gone out of hog farming. Hog farming was a miscellaneous entry in the Colonial days. Hogs were allowed to roam through the woods and forage for nuts and other wild fruits. Almqgt like Western cattle herds, they were allowed to range and reproduce before being rounded up by hog-catchers who used poles with rope nooses. As settlers moved into Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, hog production became more organized. This was largely because corn, the basis of hog feed, was the perfect crop for the Midwest; it could be planted without the need to clear stumps, required less harvesting labor and could be stored in primitive facilities. Farmers realized they could turn corn into pork, which not only brought in more money, but also could be driven or snipped on flat-boats to market as "20 bushels of corn on the hoof." According to Edward Lot-terman, an agriculture expert for the Ninth Federal Reserve District, young Abe Lincoln is supposed to have taken hogs to market on a flatboat. Lotterman writes that two technological advances changed hog raising: Steam transportation allowed fanners to ship hogs to farther markets, and the mechanization of the wheat, barley and oat harvest reduced corn's comparative advantage. Hogs could be fattened on barley or grain sorghum, although neither was as nutritionally ideal as corn. SEE PORK F2 v'V z ;. r r .iff. 1 , , -": ' ""v ' . ' V. - ? , - f t ' : f . J i b - 7 I J t 1 r 'Mi' A1 I V f Photo by Chris Richards Staff Bob Beck is In charge of slaughtering, processing and smoking; he is a son of the hog operation 's founder, Larry Beck. -?,s . - . ' i x v;-: ' ' li t A ' 1 i i . --, -i - "" - " - ' ' -- . f ... ' - .v ,-' ', -- ' , v " i ....' .. ' . ?: ? ll.,i,r-.M.,rl..,fmn.,i..,ril.,l,l n..l,,,il.M,.,i..l,,lr.,ln,.,,..,,,.l,,.!l'l j Ther Tenderloin stir-fry 1 pound pork tenderloin 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 1 teaspoon salt 1 onion, sliced and separated into rings 1 zucchini, cut into thin slices 1 medium green pepper, cut into thin strips 3 medium carrots, cut into thin slices 1 tablespoon soy sauce 1 clove garlic, minced Trim excess fat from the pork; cut it into Vi-inch slices. In a wok, brown the slices in hot oil, stirring constantly. Remove from wok, sprinkle pork with salt Reduce heat; add onion, zucchini, green pepper, carrots, soy sauce and garlic. Mix well; cook over medium heat 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Return meat to the wok and heat thoroughly. Ruth Beck, widow of the hog operation's founder, prepares ham for packaging. She runs the Beck family s retail store. ccipas Orange-dazed ham kabobs Serves 8 24 (1-inch) fully cooked ham cubes (about 1 ' i pounds) 2 medium oranges, pared and cut into eighths 1 large green pepper, cut into 16 pieces 1 large red pepper, cut into 16 pieces Vi cup orange juice 2 tablespoons tomato paste Vi teaspoon ground ginger Alternately thread 3 ham cubes, 2 orange pieces, 2 green pepper pieces and 2 red pepper pieces on each of 8 skewers. Place on a rack in a broiler pan. Broil 4 to 5 inches from the heat for 8 minutes, turning occasionally. Combine orange juice, tomato paste and ginger. Mix well. Brush kabobs with half the sauce and continue broiling 2 to 3 minutes. Turn kabobs, brush with sauce and continue broiling until done. SHORT ORDERS Nibbles of Tucson news Very uptown dining Whaa? Dining under the stars at Jerry's Lee Ho's Market? In Barrio Histori- co? Come on up, in about two weeks, says Gilles Desjardins, co-owner of the now-renovated market and restaurant Gilles and Barbara Desjardins are just waiting for the confir mation of their liquior license from Phoenix, they say, before they open up the area above the market for dining, seating 40 people. They'll be serving a variety of fondues, including cheese and vegetable, and meats cooked Chinese style in broth and in oil. And, of course, chocolate fondue for dessert Prices for dinner will range from about $20 to $30, Gilles says. Also expect music, "dinner music," he adds, by University of Arizona and Pima Community College jazz students. Jerry's Lee Ho's Market, 600 S. Meyer Ave., will be open for way-up-town dining 5-11 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until the tourist season starts and then they'll be open other nights as well, says Gilles. Call 623-7131 for more information. Time for cold ones Icy beer and summers in Tucson? Sounds like a good match to us. Bend an elbow at an evening beer-tasting at Tucson Botanical Gardens, 2150 N. Alver- r T non Way, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Aug. 17. Beers will be . provided by Nimbus Brewing Company, and Nimbus Couzin will be on hand to discuss the art of brewing beer. Ad mission is $10 per person (must be 21 or ; older) or $7 for members. For more information, call 326-9686, Ext. 29. , Still neighborly Remember the rather languidvivacious, statuesque Tess O'Shea, one of the partners at Presidio Grill? Well, she (with another partner) bought FioRito's a few months ago and have made interior and menu changes at the little neighborhood place that's been around for more than 24 years. O'Shea says they want to keep it small and neighborly, however. So practice saying "Howdy" and check it out : FioRito's, 2702 E. Grant Road, or, for more information, call 325-6919. Culture In Sonolta Now this would be really nice: dinner at the Grasslands Cafe in Sonoita on Aug. 12 with University of Arizona classical piano student John Aylward playing as part of the restaurant's summer . concert series. A four-course dinner, beginning at 6 p.m., will be served with veg etarian options. Tickets are $35 per person. Call for reservations (a must-have), (520) 4554770. The restaurant is located at 3119 S. Highway 83 in Sonoita. P.S. This is a good bet. Last year Aylward won the Highest Academic Achievement Award at the UA's Honors Convocation. Among his repertoire will be movements from two Beethoven sonatas and a Peruvian dance piece inspired by Aylward's studies with Nohe-ma Fernandez, a member of the UA piano faculty. And, of course, it's cooler in Sonoita. On the road again Now through Aug. 16 at Kingfisher, 2564 E. Grant Road, the Road Trip 2000 continues with a taste tour of California and Hawaii (hmmm, how'd those two states get put together?A very long ; bridge? Swimsuits?). So, anyway, surf on in and try lomi lomi ( salt, ginger and mint cured salmon with chopped toma- toes, scallions, radicchio and warm charred tomatillo salsa) and ciop- pino (a San Francisco-style seafood stew), among other summer delights. Call 323-7739 for reservations. . Charlotte Lowe-Bailey can he reached at 573-4131 or via e-mail lowbaileazstarnet.coin i tm. TAKEOUT A review for the road "Hometown boys make good," and you'll do good with eegee's Tf TfCe ont think f eegees j 33 a chaul: it s more like W W "hometown boys make good." In 1971, Tucsonans Edmund Irving and Robert Greenberg ("E" for Edmund and "G" for Greenburg equals eegee's, get it?) started selling lemon slush from a secondhand dairy delivery truck. The truck is long gone with 21 stationary Tucson locations in its stead. We especially like drive-through takeout eegee's in the summer. A good, cold traditional grinder composed of ham, provolone, salami, pick les, onions, tomato, lettuce and pepperoncini with oil-based salad dressing over all on a bun (4 inch, $2.49; 8 inch, $3.99; and. for more meat and cheese, "heavy," add $1) is great. But just as good is the veggie grinder more provolone with carrots and black olives, in addition to the traditional grinder stuff for the same price. With that, we like extra pepperoncini (about 5 EEGEE'S 2510 E. Speedway (at Tucson Boulevard); 881-3280. for 50 cents), please. The signature eegee's drink, which comes as a fizz (half soda added) or as Teagees (half iced tea), or just a plain eegee's in the both natural and artificial flavors du jour (watermelon and pina colada are splendid) come all the way from kid's size (10 ounces for 99 cents) to the monster-size Big-ee (44 ounces for $2.49). This is very, very finely shaved ice and good flavors. Not one of them has tasted like the nasty artificial orange of baby aspirin. You can also buy any combo meal and boost your drink to a quart for a quarter. You all know eegee's is out there, all over the place. We're just here to say that in our book, they're really pretty good. Here are the address and phone number for the location we liked: 2510 E. Speedway (at Tucson Boulevard); 881-3280. I Charlotte jowe Bailey can he reached at 573-4131 or via e mail

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