Heritage Breed Pork; Why You Will love It
What is "Heritage Pork"?
Heritage breeds are traditional breeds of pigs that were raised for food in the past, but their numbers dwindled during the rise of industrial agriculture. ... To be considered a heritage breed, an animal has to have unique genetic traits and be raised on an organic or sustainable farm.
At Cooper's we have two breeds of heritage pigs,
LARGE BLACK & BERKSHIRE
Our motto here is pretty close to the well known "Quality over quantity". We like quantity, but we always go for the best taste and texture for our bacon.
Why did you choose these breeds?
We chose these breeds because their genetics have lead their meat to be rated the top for taste. Unfortunately, they only have around 6-10 babies so that is where we miss out on the quantity. They are a some-what calm breed as well, we raise all of our own stock so we want to be able to work with the mothers. We live in South Central Ontario where we get pretty cold winters, these breeds do very well with the colder temps so we can keep them outside all year round.
What breeds are we getting in the grocery store?
Grocery stores purchase their pork 9/10 times from large scale producers. The most popular breeds used in large scale production are Landrace, Yorkshire, & Chester white (all pink pigs). They use these breeds because they have 18-22+ babies. This is awesome for sales but these breeds meat taste is rated much lower on the scale, so quantity over quality is a big thing happening in grocery stores.
Feel Good Farming
We use our pigs as the clean up crew! Being a CSA Farm, we have many vegetable crops in our field rotation. When a field is done being harvested, we send the pigs in to eat up all of the left over vegetables and weeds. This means we don't have to fire up the tractors to till up the land, the pigs root up the soil and fertilize it naturally if you know what I mean.... making the field ready for the next planting.
So why are we going to love Heritage pork?
It is a totally different taste. As stated before, one of the qualifications to be heritage pork is to be raised in a sustainable way, which means.....PASTURED RAISED PORK! Large scale produced pork is generally only fed grain and is raised on concrete floors. Diet & environment makes a huge taste difference in the pork cuts. At Coopers, our pigs are constantly rotated around pasture (they make a huge mess), but they are eating a majority of bugs, grass, hay, and a small supplement of grain to level out their diet for energy. Our breeds genetics play a huge role in taste as well, the fat/muscle ratio is just right, as previously mentioned, Berkshire pork is the top rated for taste in Canada.
Heritage Pork is Very Pricy....
Yes it is. There is A LOT more that goes into the raising of these animals and the taste often makes you understand the pricing. It a personal choice as to the quality & taste you want from your food, but remember you get what you pay for!
Just a little farm for thought for you all on how wonderfully different pork can be.