Living High on the Hog - Our great tasting pork starts with happy pigs. Our purebred, registered Berkshire pigs are raised outdoors, where they can root in the dirt to their heart's content, lounge in the sun, enjoy a cooling breeze under a shade tree, or retire to their shelter during rainy and cold weather. The pigs are kept out on grass whenever the season allows. We provide a variety of locally-farmed natural grains, fresh milk, and alfalfa hay to provide a nutrient-rich diet and to produce great flavored pork. They are also fed certified organic soybean meal to meet their protein requirements. We feed certified organic soybean meal to eliminate the risk of GMO's in their feed. Because of the healthful way they are raised, our pigs don't require routine antibiotics, nor are synthetic hormones given to increase weight gain.
Follow this link to read about harmful chemicals in much of our nation's pork supply: http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_20366.cfm
This is in sharp contrast to most commercially produced pork. Most of America's pigs are kept in confinement operations. The animals are raised inside buildings for most, if not all, of their lives. They are kept in crowded pens, on slatted floors with no bedding. It gets worse for the breeding sows. Many of the breeding sows are kept in tiny gestation pens for most of their pregnancies, and they're pregnant most of the time. When ready to give birth, many more sows are confined to farrowing crates, where they are capable of only standing up and lying down. This is to lessen the very real possibility of a sow lying on her piglets, since the piglets are so small and she is so big. Interestingly, though, we have found in our experience that happy pigs just don't routinely lie on their piglets. We feel that these rare, sad, occasions are worth risking to avoid such strict confinement.
Check out one restauranteur's take on this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMfSGt6rHos
The Pig in a Black Tuxedo - Our choice of breeds is vitally important to producing delicious pork. Berkshire pigs are a relatively rare heritage breed. They originated in England nearly four centuries ago, and have remained because of their enduring quality. Berkshires have relatively small litters and do not thrive in industrial farming environments. This does make it more expensive than factory-farmed pork. However, those who try it agree the flavor is worth it! Berkshire breeders emphasize meat quality, and let industrial farming go its own way. The effort has paid off. Discriminating consumers have long recognized the special qualities of Berkshire pork. It is valued for its richness and wonderful flavor and yields cuts that are well-marbled and consistently sweet, tender, and juicy.
America’s Test Kitchen (Season 12, Fall Classics) conducted taste tests to see if the fuss - and price- were warranted. The results? “When we tasted 100 percent Berkshire pork, a heritage breed, against standard supermarket pork, we found the differences to be astounding. The Berkshire meat had a rich crimson color and a smoky, intense pork flavor. It was also very tender and juicy. The pale supermarket pork was bland and chewy in comparison. Other heritage breeds (including Duroc) failed to impress our tasters, but if you can find Berkshire pork we recommend buying it.” They conducted further research on the pork and found, according to Kenneth Prusa, professor of food science at Iowa State University, that color really does indicate quality. According to Prusa, color is affected by the meat’s pH, which is the “overall driver of quality” in pork, and Berkshires are bred to have a “slightly higher pH than normal.” And the resulting meat is darker, firmer, and more flavorful. They also found that in addition to genetics, pH is affected by the conditions under which the pigs are raised. “The calmer the animal, the more evenly blood flows through its system, distributing flavorful juices throughout.”
Those points are underscored by a decade-long study of National Barrow Show meat quality results, summarized in the follow table. Without a doubt, the findings confirm the premium position of 100% Berkshire pork.