Probably our favourite, although it is hard to choose, the Tamworth has the reputation of being the oldest pure English breed of pig. The Tam is a friendly, vocal, docile pig. It is hardy in Canadian winters and thrives well with a small shelter and lots of straw. In the summer, it is the most resistant to sunburn. Its long snout makes the Tamworth pig resistant to disease. The sows are good mothers naturally rearing strong, healthy piglets in various environments.
Known as the bacon pig, the Tamworth admirably meets todays demand for high quality foodstuffs. The meat is fine in texture with a distinct succulent flavour. This breed of pig is a good source of pork and ham produced by humane methods without the use of growth hormones.
The Tamworth, when crossed with our other Heritage Breeds, produces high quality meat incorporating the best from both breeds. We plan to have registered Tamworth breeding stock for sale in 2010.
On the farm, we keep a young registered Berkshire boar as a cross on our Tamworth sows. The Berkshire is a black pig with white points (face, legs and tail). The Berk is deep sided with a strong uniform arch of back and muscular firm build. The Berkshire is friendly and curious with an excellent disposition.
Berkshire population plummeted in the 1980s and 1990s. Because they are slower growing, they were not a good fit for large commercial pork production. In recent years their numbers have increased. They are hardy and perform very well outdoors, especially when grazing on pasture. Their meat is darker than commercial pork and far more flavorful than the pork found in your grocery store freezer.
Famous Berkshires in literature are the Empress of Blandings featured in Blandings Castle, a comic series of short stories written by Britiains P.G. Wodehouse, Pig-Wig, a sow in Beatrix Potters The Tale of Pigling Bland and Napoleon the pig from Animal Farm written by George Orwell.
English Large Black
They are distinguished by their gigantic size, they are the largest of the kind I have ever seen, and as perfect a make as possible in pigs... their heads are large, with very long ears hanging down on each side of the face, so they can scarcely see their way." - Parkinson 1810
These pigs are a) Large and b) Black. One cant accuse them of being misnamed. Also known as the Elephant Pig they have large pendulous ears. This admirable versatile breed is extremely docile and hardy. They are well suited to simple outdoor sytems. Their placid temperament enables them to be easily contained by a single strand electric fence. The meat from the Large Black is much appreciated for its succulent tasty meat.
What the Press has to say about Heritage breeds
Toronto Star, August 27, 2008
Globe and Mail, July 12, 2008