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Berkshire

Berkshire Origin : England
Status : Heritage
Temperament : Docile
Known for : Exceptional flavor
Flavor Profile : Balanced, Umami, Mushroom, Black Pepper, Beefy, Fig.

Berkshire : Also known as Kurobuta (Japanese for black pig), Berkshire is Britain's oldest established breed of pig. First imported to America in 1823, Berkshires were popular among the Shaker religious community. The American Berkshire Association was formed in 1875, registering only English stock with the traditional black coloring and six points (six white spots, four appearing on the tips of each foot, on the tail, and on the face). Accordingly, Berkshire bloodlines have remained exceptionally pure.

Yielding brighter pork than most and featuring a thick, delicious fat cap, Berkshire meat is exceptionally flavorful. Historically the favorite breed of the English royalty, Berkshire pork is reddish/pink in color, balanced, porky and distinctive — often with hints of black pepper and mushroom. The characteristic intramuscular fat that runs through Berkshire meat gives it a smooth texture and melt on the tongue tenderness. Berkshire is the consistent pork of choice for many of the chefs we work with.

Red Wattle

Red Wattle

Origin : New Caledonia
Status : Threatened, Fewer than 1,000 registered in the US
Temperament : Docile
Known for : Early ties with the city of New Orleans.

Flavor Profile : Cinnamon, Spice, Butter Cream, Floral, Robust, Beefy.

Red Wattle : As the name implies, the Red Wattle is a red hog with two wattles hanging from either side of the jowl. This extremely rare breed adapts well to different climates and is an excellent forager as well as a prolific and caring mother. It is prized for its tender meat and splendid hams. Red Wattle pork is juicy, well marbled, and lean with earthy, herbaceous flavors. Its expressive porky taste is known to be concentrated and bold.

The Red Wattle was the first breed sourced at Heritage Foods USA. It is believed to have come to America’s shores in the mid 1700s from New Caledonia where it populated the backyards of New Orleans’ homes. During the 18th and 19th centuries the locals bred Red Wattles to stand up to the Cajun cuisine, giving this pork a unique beefy robustness that is not overwhelmed by strong flavors.

The Red Wattle was once thought to be extinct, but a wild herd was found in Texas in the 1970s and select farmers have begun breeding them again in small numbers.

Gloucestershire Old Spot

Gloucestershire Old Spot

Origin : England
Status : Threatened, Fewer than 1,000 registered in the US
Temperament : Docile, Lazy
Known for : Sweet, Creamy Fat and Bacon

Flavor Profile : Creamy, Buttery, Complex, Fruity, Marshmallow, Stone Fruit, Sweet.

Gloucestershire Old Spot : Developed in England, the Gloucestershire Old Spot is a threatened British breed. Nicknamed “orchard pig”, these white pigs with big black spots were developed on fruit orchards, where they gorged themselves on fallen fruit and other treats. Their backyard grazing lifestyles led to the development of their oversized floppy ears, which protect their eyes during foraging and enhance their sense of smell. While this makes the Old Spot excellent foragers the negative impact on their peripheral vision causes the breed to be especially dependent on humans for protection from predators.

Old Spots became rare after World War II, when the shift to intensive pig production reduced interest in outdoor pigs. The breed almost became extinct in the 1960s but is experiencing a renaissance. Their lazy and gluttonous lifestyle yields pork that is fatty, delicious and succulent.

Tamworth

Tamworth

Origin : Ireland
Status : Threatened, Fewer than 1,000 registered in the US
Temperament : Active but Docile
Known for : Great "dual purpose" pig.

Flavor Profile : Fruity, Earthy, Clean, Mineral, Root, Sweet & Tender.

Tamworth : Traditionally known as the best "bacon hog”, Tamworths are a thrifty, hardy breed generally larger in size with lean athletic builds. The Tamworth has a ginger-reddish coat, muscular top and rounded back. They are known for being a great "dual purpose" pig, producing both stunningly good pork and exceptional bacon. The pig's long angular snout makes it an excellent forager, prized by chefs for its incredible tenderness and clean, porky flavor.

The Tamworth is one of the most unusual heritage breeds. Thought to have descended from wild boars via native pig stock of Europe, Tamworths still maintain many "unimproved" traits. When crossed with wild hogs, Tams are known to sometimes produce striped "Iron Age" piglets, similar to those kept in early domestication. The Royal Agricultural Society first recognized the Tamworth in 1885.

Duroc

Duroc

Origin : America
Status : Heritage
Temperament : Very Docile
Known for : Great marbling, excellent spareribs and juicy shoulder roasts.

Flavor Profile : Nutty, Olive, Woody, Balanced, Porky.

Duroc : The Duroc is an older breed of American domestic pig that has become one of the most popular breeds because of its great taste and strong, favorable genetics, but pure Duroc is very hard to find.

Duroc pigs are red, large-framed, medium length, and muscular, with partially drooping ears, and tend to be one of the least aggressive of all the swine breeds. Duroc meat is crisp and clean — known for great marbling, excellent spareribs and juicy shoulder roasts. Its taste and texture are polished and clean on the palate.

Durocs are a red pig strain developed around 1800 in New England and reputed to trace their ancestry back to the early red pigs first brought over by Columbus and DeSoto from the Guinea coast of Africa. Durocs are especially valued by farmers for their hardiness and quick but thorough muscle growth.

Large Black

Large Black

Origin : England
Status : Threatened, Fewer than 1,000 registered in the US
Temperament : Calm, Lazy
Known for : Large size and hardiness on pasture.

Flavor Profile : Firm, Sweet & Savory, Exquisite, Delicate

Large Black : Like the Gloucestershire Old Spot the Large Black was developed in backyards and on pasture in Cornwall, Devon, and Somerset, England. Originally know as the Lop Eared Black the breed was selected for large size and ability to thrive on grazing alone. Its characteristic floppy ears shield its eyes while rooting in the dirt and its dark skin protects it from sunburns during long hours on pasture.

The Large Black gained rapid popularity during the last half of the 1800s, becoming one of the most popular English pig breeds by 1920. The decline in interest for outdoor production pigs after World War II caused the breed to become nearly extinct by 1960.

Today, with increased interest in pasture-raised pork, the Large Black is experiencing a renaissance. While this breed remains very rare, its large size, good fat development, and excellent foraging ability has made it popular among farmers and charcutiers.