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Everything But the Oink

Scrapple, the iconic Maryland breakfast staple, is a hearty loaf that can evoke strong feelings mostly favorable, sometimes not.

“I grew up eating scrapple and it brings back great memories,” says Julianne Barclay, a My Maryland Farmers follower. “My dad would make it and say that it had everything but the oink. Now, I serve scrapple to my kids at least once a month and hope they carry on the tradition.”

For those who aren’t familiar with scrapple, it’s a pork product made from hog scraps, as the name implies, along with spices and corn meal or buckwheat flour. It’s typically sold in raw pound loaves. “One of the best things about raising hogs is the ability to use the animal from nose to tail. Scrapple is where all of the “extras” go,” says Randy Combs of Enoch Farms in Denton. “Organs are incorporated into this tasty breakfast treat favored by many on the Shore and throughout Maryland.”

Randy and his wife Hannah, who both grew up on family farms, grow farrow-to-finish Berkshire and Duroc crossbred hogs on their 80-acre farm in Caroline County. The farrow-to-finish process includes all phases from breeding the sows (mother pigs) to growing the hogs to market weight of about 280 pounds.

They anticipate pasture raising 80 to 100 hogs this year. “We allow them to forage in open pasture and along the edge of the woods,” Randy says. “They are free to move from shelter to the pasture.”

The hogs don’t leave the farm until they are ready for butchering, which is done by a local, family-owned and USDA-certified processor. Along with the more traditional cuts of the hog, including pork chops, baby back ribs, bacon and ham, they produce scrapple for Enoch Farms. “Aside from the health benefits of knowing exactly what goes into your meat — fresh air, sunshine, healthy foods and nothing else — buying local gets you an incredibly fresh product direct from the farm to the butcher to you,” Randy says. “There’s no wondering how it’s been handled or about the source of origin. And local farms help support a local economy.

There is such a love of scrapple in Maryland and its bordering states that there’s even a Facebook page called Scrapple Trail that honors this breakfast dish. Nearly 7,000 members share where to buy local scrapple, their favorite brands and how to prepare it. Scrapple tacos anyone?

Scrapple is traditionally a breakfast treat, sometimes topped with honey, apple butter, maple syrup or ketchup. “Our preference is to cut the scrapple a quarter inch thick and pan fry. Crispy on the outside and a little mushy on the inside. It’s perfect on a sandwich with egg, in an omelet — which is my favorite — or just on its own,” Hannah says. “It might be an acquired taste, but we’ve found that it even grows on newcomers. Scrapple is as Maryland as blue crabs.”

Hungry for more? To learn more about scrapple and how it’s made, watch this video from Maryland’s Best. Read more about another hog farmer in Maryland. Look for scrapple at local farmers markets and restaurants.

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