Well we are celebrating the arrival of our first Berkshire piglets!
We originally began with a pair of Berkshires from different bloodlines with the intension of them being our breeding pair. This didn’t go to plan. So over 2 years on we finally have our first pure Berkshire litter.
We will be keeping a grower for ourselves; so will keep you up to date with progress.
So why Berkshires?
We have been asked this many times. We are believers in maintaining heritage breeds, which unfortunately often means rare breeds, where possible and there are many others we have or would consider for their various traits.
We chose the Berkshire as a rare and heritage breed for a few reasons;
Berkshires are one of the oldest recognised breeds of pigs. First acknowledged over 300 years ago in Berkshire (now part of Oxfordshire, due to border movements) in England. Berkshires are black with white ‘points’ (feet, tail) and nose with pink skin.
Whilst they are considered an early maturing breed, they are also ‘slow growing’. Meaning they were not suited to mass production methods. And as a result have been listed as ‘rare’ in many parts of the world in recent years. They are however suited to free range or smallholding methods, partially due to this and their quiet nature and don’t sun burn (as many breeds do) and love to graze on grass.
Culinary wise Berkshires are sort after and considered the ‘wagu of pork’ due to their marbled meat; the breaks down in the cooking process, enhancing the flavour and tenderness. And is apparently the only pork eaten by the Japanese Emperor (or so I have read), where the breed is known as Kurobuta (or Black pig).
We had previously paid to rear a Berkshire from a local free range piggery, so were confident with the product and availability for sourcing livestock.