Why Not Pig Milk?


For years, every time I see a pig farmer at one of the Greenmarkets, I ask the same question: Why is there no such thing as pig milk? Usually, I get an equivocal answer, but for once I got what sounded like a convincing response.

All sorts of other milks are available for retail sale. There’s cow’s milk — the king of milks — and goat, sheep, and even camel’s milk, or so I’ve been told by someone who supposedly spotted a can in a Russian grocery in Brighton Beach. Next time, I told him, buy the can for Pete’s sake. But never any pig milk. They say that piglets look the most like human babies of any animal, so you’d think pig’s milk would be wholesome, and maybe something like human milk, which is sometimes used to make cheese.

So, when I ask the guy at the Flying Pigs stall at Union Square, he cracked a smile and launched into an explanation:

“First of all, a cow udder is soft and easy to pull, and not hard to get milk from. A pig’s teats are hard and hidden, and the piglets really have to work to get at them.

“Second, a pig is not cooperative the way a cow is. You’d have trouble even catching a pig to milk it.

“Third, the consistency is not at all like cow’s milk. It’s more watery.

“Fourth, pig milk is really gamy. You know how goat’s milk is? I like it, but lots of people don’t. Pig milk tastes even stronger than that.”