Heritage Berkshire Pigs

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We are accidental pig farmers, but happily so.

Along with a cantankerous old goat and several barn cats, when we took over the lease here on the ranch we also inherited a gilt (young female pig) named Gertie. After several unsuccessful attempts at introducing Gertie to a suitable boar we decided her future was in pork – and so was ours. Such was our unexpected enjoyment of raising that first hog (not to mention the freezer full of bacon that followed) we soon bought a pregnant sow, Penny, to begin our own herd of Heritage Berkshire pigs. With Penny in charge, our herd has now grown to include 7 breeding sows, 3 boars and a passel of weaner and feeder pigs. polaroid Eden

Our hogs are raised outside (with access to shelter) in small social groups, and are rotated around their almond orchard pastures which helps to maintain healthy animals and healthy soil. Our piglets are weaned at four to eight weeks, and are kept in their family groups until slaughter – a pig that is kept with piglets it recognises is much less likely to become stressed, and is therefore happier, healthier and heavier. Our pigs’ diet consists of a locally-sourced high quality swine feed supplemented with almond hulls, seasonal organic fruits and vegetables, forage, and whatever else they find while happily rooting around and generally making a mess in their pastures.

It turned out that Penny was (and still is) a purebred Berkshire sow, and by sheer luck on our part the pork that we got from that first litter was of such high quality (bacon was involved, again) we decided to build a herd of Heritage Berkshire pigs.  By this stage we had also learned a bit about the breed and decided that due to the breeds heritage classification, docility, hardiness to a life spent outdoors, excellent fat qualities and because they are renowned for
their superior flavour they would fit in perfectly with our model here at Skyelark Ranchearsie polaroid

Berkshire pigs (pronounced baark-sure – think Downton Abbey) are one of the oldest identifiable breeds of hog. They are black pigs, with white “points” (white areas on their feet, snout and tail) and were first documented in the English “shire of Berks” more than 350 years ago and made their way to the United States in the early 1800s. We hope that by maintaining a healthy herd we are helping to sustain the Berkshire breed long into the future and preserve some of the legacy of historical agriculture.

The pork produced by our Berkshires is rich, sweet with a clean taste, soft fat
and great marbling which keeps the meat juicy. It has great depth of flavour and is melt-in-your-mouth tender. There are no additives, no water injected, no hormones and no antibiotics, just real, natural, pork. The pigs travel for a short trip of less than two hours to the abattoir, which is kept as stress-free as possible as part of our commitment to raising our animals humanely, with respect and integrity from birth to slaughter. Penny PolaroidAll the meat is packed at our local USDA inspected ranch butchery where our small goods including sausage, hams and bacon is prepared and smoked over locally-sourced apple or peach wood.

In short, we raise our pigs in an environment that allows for them to live a stress-free life, to grow and behave naturally which, in turn, produces great tasting, and tender pork. One bite of some of our Heritage Berkshire pork and you’ll be as happy as a pig in……..!

Please visit our farmstand to see how to purchase some of our great tasting, natural Heritage Berkshire pork.