Currently, we are building two herds of heritage pigs and are in the process of establishing quality breeding lines for Berkshire and Ossabaw Island pigs. We will be selling piglets and meat once the herds are established and producing.
Berkshires have a wonderfully marbled and rich meat. In Japan the Berkshire is called the Kurobota and is considered the equivalent of Kobe beef in the pork world. Berkshires are also occasionally used to cross with other breeds to improve the flavor and quality in other breeding programs. Commercial operations favor fast growing pink and white breeds and so the Berkshire is difficult to find as a US consumer. Click here for a quick history on the breed.
Sirius Black is a registered Berkshire boar with the American Berkshire Association. We named him after the Harry Potter character because of my son's interest in the series. It turns out to be a good choice in names because of the common British roots. His first sow will be on the farm soon and we'll be building up his herd from there.
Ossabaw Island Pigs
Ossabaws Island Pigs are an interesting breed of pig. Thought to have derived from the famous Iberico pigs from Spain, the breed evolved in an isolated environment for about 500 years. During early expeditions to the Americas, Europeans would often release livestock into the wild in the hopes that on a return voyage there would be an abundance of familiar foods waiting for them. The Ossabaws survived on the island off coast of Georgia, however it was a challenging environment and the breed went through some interesting adaptations. Because of the small size of the island, the pigs reduced their physical size, a phenomenon called insular dwarfism (similar to what you see with the size of fish in small tanks). They also adapted to retain a shockingly high percentage of calories in body fat due to extended periods of food insecurity. However, the fat is significantly higher in unsaturated fats (the healthy stuff) than in their commercial counterparts. The result is that the breed, although small, produces some superb pork. The Ossabaws were featured in Peter Kaminsky's book Pig Perfect. I'll be experimenting with Charcuterie projects before long.
|Drusilla, Calabaza & Isabella|
These are the Ossabaw sows - from left to right are Drusilla, Calabaza and Isabella. Drusilla was named after the character with deep black hair in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which was one of Ayala and my favorite TV series. (That's Spike in the background). Isabella was named after the Spanish Queen that reigned during the time that the Europeans found the Americas and shortly thereafter dropped off these interesting pigs on the Island. We were looking for a Spanish name to recognize the Spanish origins of the pigs and although there are some conflicting aspects about her rule, it's still a pretty name. Finally, Calabaza is Spanish for Pumpkin, which is a great match for the colors.
Here are the first two pigs that we raised, Mango and Cocoa, which are both Tamworth / Yorkshire crosses. They will be joining the breeding herd of a friend. As a frame of reference, Mango is about 400 pounds right now and the new members of the herd are about 30.
|Mango & Cocoa|