Gloucestershire Old Spot Heritage Pigs
Sequatchie Cove Farm is back to raising Heritage Breed pigs! Right now we have Gloucestershire Old Spots http://www.gospbc.co.uk/ We stopped raising pigs for a couple of years because to work with and raise any animal the right way - takes - work and time and now we have a little extra time so we have pigs once again. Like all our animals the pigs are raised outdoors on pasture and since they are pigs, in the woods next to the pastures. We are using the pigs to create special savanna like pastures that we will rotate the pigs and layers through. Fresh air, sunshine, rain, foraging outdoors in the woods under open skies is the life we want our pigs to lead. Because we milk cows and cheese is made here on the farm we always have a little extra milk, lots of whey and occasionally cheese that didn't make the grade for their feed, and right now during the fall they have acorns, hickory and walnuts, and their favorite treat - persimmons, this along with some corn and bad pears is their diet this fall. Like our chickens, cows, and sheep and even our fruit and vegetables the pigs are tended by hand and raised with respect its the only way we will have it at Sequatchie Cove Farm and we know you want it that way also. Check out our pork packages with bacon!
September 5, 2016
How we came to have Gloucestershire Old Spot pigs on the farm - Again.
What’s time to a Pig?
Fifteen years or so ago we were into Heritage Everything. Some of you might remember. Bourbon Red Turkeys, Ossabaw, Large Black and Old Spot pigs, Milking Devon cows and more. Well when we started milking cows and making cheese we got way too busy and sold off the breeding stock of pigs. One of the folks we sold the Old Spots to was Teddy Gentry in Fort Payne Alabama. Teddy is not only one of the leading country music musicians he is also a leader in breeding cows here in the south east. He even developed his own breed of cows called the South Poll http://southpoll.com/
In 2004 we entered an Old Spot pig into a Southern Foodways BBQ event in Birmingham, AL. It was to determine which breed of pigs was the most delicious when barbequed. Our Old Spot pork’s immense taste from the slowly smoked and heated fat overwhelmed the pallets of the judge. Teddy and John T. Edge being 2 of the judges. Teddy soon thereafter bought some breeding stock which he has kept going to the present day. He has been breeding and selecting these pigs now for 12 years to thrive on pasture and in the woods. He subsequently has sold off some of the sows to a group of farmers in the north Alabama area and we get our piglets from these farmers and raise them up for you. So another amazing benefit of eating this delicious pork is that it is not only helping to keep the breed growing, it is helping farmers stay on the land and helping to keep land in agricultural production - It is a much better value than any land trust or state park - just eat more pork and the countryside stays green, profitable and prolific. And another great thing is that because of diet and exercise the tenderizing fat of this pork is not only delicious and mouth watering by some counts it is also as healthy for you as olive oil.
I have eaten and enjoyed pork all my life and this pork is the best by far - it just melts in one’s mouth and the flavor is stupendous. As a young boy I was first seduced by cured country hams in Dillard Georgia. We had been rafting with family and friends on the Chattooga River and went to the Dillard house for lunch. This was still a time when a country restaurant like that really did still raise their own food. The fresh tomatoes and the smoky, salty funky mix of flavors in the cured ham still resonate on my palate. While there, eating food they had raised and cured the whole world of fresh delicious food took on many new layers of meaning. My father knew Earl Dillard and he took us to the family smoke house down the hill. It was a small old smoky wooden log cabin building with a sweet musty odor and a low ceiling with hams hanging in the darkness. I have been hooked every since.
Part of dream is not just to have our swine live outside eating hickory and walnuts and acorns and persimmons, and grazing grass and plants of all sort - in short living a life on the fat of the land - it is also to capture these flavors and textures and keep them alive for this and the next generation.
Origin : England
Status : Threatened, Fewer than 1,000 registered in the US
Temperament : Docile, Lazy
Known for : Sweet, Creamy Fat and Bacon
Flavor Profile : Creamy, Buttery, Complex, Fruity, Marshmallow, Stone Fruit, Sweet.
Gloucestershire Old Spot : Developed in England, the Gloucestershire Old Spot is a threatened British breed. Nicknamed “orchard pig”, these white pigs with big black spots were developed on fruit orchards, where they gorged themselves on fallen fruit and other treats. Their backyard grazing lifestyles led to the development of their oversized floppy ears, which protect their eyes during foraging and enhance their sense of smell. While this makes the Old Spot excellent foragers the negative impact on their peripheral vision causes the breed to be especially dependent on humans for protection from predators.
Old Spots became rare after World War II, when the shift to intensive pig production reduced interest in outdoor pigs. The breed almost became extinct in the 1960s but is experiencing a renaissance. Their lazy and gluttonous lifestyle yields pork that is fatty, delicious and succulent.
August 31, 2016
Gone Hog Wild...
Well not Quite..
We are continuing to raise full blooded exceedingly rare Gloucestershire Old Spot pigs. Click here on their English hometown website in Gloucestershire England. http://www.gospbc.co.uk/ to find out more about them. Back in the early history of the British Isles pigs either arrived or were there when the Anglo’s and the Saxon’s and the other Celtic peoples arrived. Out of these ancient pigs, sometime just after the middle ages the various counties and towns in England started to have and breed very specific animals to their local. For example in Gloucestershire they had their own cow, pig, sheep and probably other animals as well. These distinctive animals we now call Heritage Breeds. All over the world these animals are in dramatic decline (this is another story which I will share with you at a latter time). We along with you are doing our part not to just keep these animals in existence but to make them a thriving part of our world again.
We started raising Gloucestershire pigs again about a year ago now, and this is our third batch. It is hard to comprehend why more people do not raise this pig as they are amazing to work with and are wonderful foragers. Gloucestershire England is an apple growing region and the pigs foraged under the apple trees for the fallen apples and in the fall the pork was said to have a sweet cidery flavor and was sought after by the royalty of the time. Old Spot pork is riddled with fat and fat is where the flavor is and this is why it was an easy choice for us to focus on exclusively raising Old Spots - for the Flavor. The pork is simply better than any you have ever had - its flavor is nothing short of superlative.
We are feeding them certified organic corn and barley, whey from the cheese making process and extra milk and cheese that doesn't make the grade, squash and tomatoes from the garden and of course nuts and roots and whatever they find in the woods. We are using the pigs to root and clear a small area of woods that we hope to turn into a sylvan pasture. So the great thing is - that because of diet and exercise the tenderizing flavor sizzling fat is not just outrageously delicious it is perhaps as healthful for you as olive oil.
The meat from the Old Spot is something very special and it's not just an hyperbole statement from Sequatchie Cove Farm saying this - everyone who has ever eaten this pork says the same thing - check out this Guardian article. tttp://www.theguardian.com/life and style/wordofmouth/2010/jun/21/gloucester-old-spot-protected-status
Or as one of our customers recently said “this pork is the best meat I have ever eaten in my life.”
You should give this amazing pork a try. Hurry as we only raise these pigs in small batches and stay always on the edge of being out of pork - order our whole or half hog package and put it in the freezer. By ordering a half or whole hog package you get the excitement of trying your hand at cooking and sampling all the cuts and you save money at the same time.
We always have pork here at the farm and at the Main Street Farmer’s Market http://www.mainstfarmersmarket.com/ on Wednesday from 4 till 6 at the Sequatchie Cove Farm booth.