We invested in the premium cost to acquire excellent Heritage Berkshire bloodlines. Berkshire pork is genetically prone to produce the finest quality pork due to its shorter muscle fibers and proportionate fat marbling, which contributes to both elite flavor and legendary tenderness.
￼pH is key for quality – even more important than marbling. A slight variation in pH acidity can have a massive impact on the pork’s flavor and texture. The higher pH levels found in Berkshire pigs is a visually darker reddish hue pork rather than the common white. A higher pH also gives the meat a firmer texture and the amazing taste. The Low pH found in supermarket pork and other pig breeds causes the pork to be pale and bland tasting.
Over 300 years ago, the United Kingdom discovered the rare Berkshire breed . The first sensational bite of deliciousness developed a swift reputation for the royals to acquire the Berkshire Breed. The King of England was so delighted with the quality of the Berkshire he had them bred specifically for his personal meat supply. Initially, the pork was only available to royalty.
Asian black pigs were imported into England to produce the Black Berkshire’s well known black coat with white spots on the feet, tail end, nose and tip of ears.
We can thank the British for not keeping the delectable pork to themselves. As a diplomatic gift, the British government provided Berkshire pigs to the Kingdom of Ryukyu (now Okinawa) in Japan. Impressed, they decided to raise the Berkshires where more land was available on the Kyushu Island. The Japanese demonstrated that proper feeding and care methods improve the pork quality even more. The thoughtful diet and stress-free life enjoyed separates Kurobuta pork from normal Berkshire pork sold.
The only disadvantage we have found with Berkshire Pigs is that this heritage breed does not produce as many piglets per litter as the common feedlot breeds. This is one of many factors that drives up the cost for the sought after Berkshire meat.
The Berkshires are covered in black hair, hence the Japanese name, Kurobuta, meaning black pig. All Kurobuta pork comes from Berkshire pigs, however, not all Berkshire pork qualifies as Kurobuta grade. While the Berkshire genetics play a part in taste, the care, stress free lifestyle, and food consumption makes a noticeable taste distinction.
On commodity farms, the pigs are normally weaned at 18 to 21 days after birth. To replace the need for mothers milk, commodity pigs are fed a diet of around 24% protein. This diet tends to compromise the pork quality and make it a little less enjoyable to consume.
Our piglets remain with their mothers and naturally transition from their mother’s milk to foraging in the pasture.
Typical feedlots and the common farmer, feed a high corn ration to increase weight as the low cost feed is attractive. The remaining diet is local scraps and pellet feed which results in a high carcass weight with not as much actual meat. While some farmers make the investment to feed certified organic pellets, we take it a step further. Aside from no hormones, no antibiotics, no pesticides, we are very thoughtful in what our pigs are given.
The food they eat while fattening is crucial. We offer whole foods and not pellets. What pigs eat impacts their taste and nutrients in the pork. Some treat a hog as a garbage disposal converting garbage into bacon. While this method may yield a low cost pork product, is obvious by the inferior appearance and taste. Garbage in = Garbage out. Pork flavor is apparent based on what you feed them! Feed it fish and it’ll taste fishy. Feed it corn and it’ll taste….corny. Kurobuta quality pigs are usually fed apples, peanuts, acorns, clover, oats, milk, and spent grains to enhance the flavor.
Our pastured raised pigs live as natural as possible; free to forage and rout grass, roots, and insects. We share our fresh organic garden vegetables, the highest quality Alfalfa, a variety of organic sprouts, our cow’s milk, and spent grains.
4H show pigs are typically fed a pellet diet ranging between 22 –24% protein . The high protein hogs put on more muscle and less fat. Commodity pigs are fed a low cost, low protein diet (such as corn) of 10-14% protein in which the hog will put on less muscle and more fat. Being raised on the right protein level, allows the hog’s natural meat quality to blossom while providing a variety of nutrients for their health. To perfect Kurobuta quality, the right balance is between the high fat and low fat hog. Our pigs are free choice and have access to a high variety diet. The result is an ideal balance of intramuscular fat providing flavor and tenderness.
It is a significant higher cost to invest in raising pigs with appropriate space and to offer the right food sources. If the ethical methods of humanely raising pigs is not enough to earn your dollar vote, one bite is enough to gain confidence that the meat quality is worth the trade-off.
Why is our pork more juicy and tender than others that raise Berkshires? The lack of stress on the animal.
When stressed, pigs produce energy that reduces intramuscular fat. This results in dry, tough meat. The calmer the animal, the higher quality of pork. Pigs are prone to depression which causes stress. Nothing is more depressing for a pig than being tightly confined. The environment in which the animal is raised determines how much exercise and stress the animal is exposed to. Lack of exercise and heightened stress can affect muscle development and meat quality. The ability to graze a pasture and walk improves blood flow and overall health. Kurobuta quality pork comes from pigs that are allowed to roam freely in a pasture.
We gain a lot of enjoyment by seeing the pigs in their natural environment and love to share the joy with families that visit us. We assist the pigs to improve their quality of life by fulfilling their every need. When it is time, we are respectfully grateful for the sacrifice of their life to sustain ours.
Our pigs enjoy their entire life outdoors with plenty of food, water and shelter. We offer free choice mud which allows the pigs freedom to choose when they want to roll in the mud to cool, forage in the pasture, lay in the shade, or warm themselves in the sun.
We believe in giving our pigs the best possible full life and harvest humanely. After, inspecting and testing different butchers, we currently alternate between two Meat Lockers. Both have allowed us to inspect the way they treat the animals. Hudson Meat Lockers (makes excellent ham sandwich slices and breakfast links) and Innovative foods, a USDA inspected facility.
We take the taste of pork up a few notches! Elite Chefs seek out the Berkshire breed which is compared to the wagyu quality of Kobe beef for hogs. Our distinctive quality pork has finely marbled intramuscular which results in exceptionally juicy, tenderness, and packed with natural flavor. Our Berkshire pork obtains the perfect tasting ratio of meat marbling families savor. It is darker than standard supermarket pork, with a richer taste, and soft white fat.
Store bought bacon is known to shrivel to half it’s size when cooked. Our pork is never injected with brine water “seasoning”, like supermarket/commodity pork is. You will notice the difference immediately when you cook our bacon.
You can visually see the flavor difference in supermarket pale white colored pork versus our deep reddish color Berkshire pork. You can also see the meat characteristic difference in intramuscular marbling (fat intermingling within the meat), which makes it uniquely tender and juicy. When you cut into it, the meat glistens. Know where your food comes from and visit our farm.