RARE! Heritage breed, pasture-raised pork
Early in our butchery adventure we discovered the difference between slow-growing, heritage breed pigs and their fast-growing, commercial cousins. That was a flavour revelation.
But soon after, we were introduced to pasture-raised, heritage-breed pigs and, quite frankly, nothing else comes close.
On every measure - animal welfare, environmental outcomes, flavour and quality - pasture-raised, heritage-breed pork is peerless.
The only problem is availability.
Only 5% of Australian sows are certified 'free range' - living outside rather than in a shed, but with fixed shelters which can't be regularly moved to fresh pastures. That's just the sows.
But less than 1% of Australian pigs are genuinely 'pasture-raised', slow-growing heritage breeds, well-adapted to living outside for their entire lives.
Raising pigs on pasture requires that they be regularly and frequently moved to fresh ground, along with their mobile shelters. This gives the landscape time to recover from the pigs' enthusiastic attention and absorb all the nutrient they leave behind and also gives the pigs fresh territory to discover and forage on.
When they're moved regularly across pastures, pigs do an excellent job of eating remnant crops, fertilising and disturbing the soil surface to allow regeneration and growth. But left in one paddock next to a fixed shelter for any length of time and any healthy, energetic pig will quickly reduce a patch of land to mud or dust, so genuine 'pasture-raising' means moving pigs often. Which means shelters must be mobile.
Fortunately, it's this 1% of pasture-raised, heritage-breed pigs that we source, and this is the pork you can enjoy - when you choose to eat pork.
In fact, the more you enjoy it, the more other farmers will be encouraged to raise pigs this way - better for the pigs, better for the landscape, better for the farmer and better for your health.