The NATIVE FARMER
Offering native British meat
- OUR PIGS -
We generally keep three different types of native British pigs in our woods, they are Gloucester Old Spots, Large Blacks and Tamworths. All of our pigs are, loving and talkative pigs, they come running when called and often roll over for a belly rub.
Gloucester Old Spots
Gloucester Old Spots are the oldest recorded spotted pig breed with pedigree records dating back to the 19th century. The breed originated in the Vale of Berkeley, and is reported to be the result of crossing Gloucestershire and Berkshire pigs. They are also known as the Gloster Spot, Old Spot as well as Cottager's and Orchard Pigs. They were traditionally kept in cider and perry orchards in the area, and also on dairy farms and their grazing diet was supplemented by windfall fruit and whey from the dairies. Folk law says that the spots came from bruises from the falling apples! The breed is renowned for being of docile temperament and hardy, as well as making excellent mothers; litters from 2-3 year old dams can frequently be 15+ piglets. The meat from the Old Spots is always in demand, due to its excellent flavour and high quality.
With lop ears and a long deep body, the Large Black is Britain’s only all black pig. They are extremely docile and hardy and suited to simple outdoor systems provided they have a well bedded, draught free shelter it will be perfectly happy living outside all year round. The sows are excellent mothers, with exceptional milking ability, and are able to rear sizeable litters on unsophisticated rations. Large Blacks are one of this country’s oldest pig breeds, the Large Black had its origins in the Old English Hog of the 16th and 17th centuries. A change in demand by the meat trade, and a developing prejudice against ‘coloured’ pigs, led to a severe decline in numbers throughout the 1960’s. The creation of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust in 1973 led to the Large Blacks being placed on the Trust’s list of ‘critical’ breeds.
The Large Black is also much appreciated for its tasty succulent meat and eating qualities. It is superb as pork but excels when traditionally cured as bacon.
Tamworths are a rare, indigenous, slower growing breed. Indeed they are the only true British pig naturally suited to life outdoors in the UK because of their coloured coat and they are also known for producing fabulous meat. In the mid 1990’s the Tamworth came top in a taste test carried out by Bristol University using both commercial and rare breed pigs in a scientifically controlled experiment. No wonder then that it is often and exclusively served in many of the top restaurants in the country, such as Raymond Blanc’s Le Quat Saisons.
The Tamworth is also one of the great ‘dual purpose’ pigs producing stunningly good pork as well as equally tremendous bacon. As one of the longest snouted pigs it is also of great use to the organic gardener or anyone who has a piece of rough overgrown land that needs clearing. A Tamworth will earn its keep as either a professional rotavator or bramble, bracken clearance operative.