berkshires

Family-friendly pigs with a Royal connection…

The Berkshire pig fits well into our family-run, free-range farmer system where cows, pigs, chickens, rabbits  (and children!) all live happily together.

Berkshires have quite a history:  a heritage rare breed, they are descended from herds maintained by British monarchs since the early 18th Century. Rumoured to have been discovered by Oliver Cromwell’s army over 300 years ago, the first recorded pig was a boar called ‘The Ace of Spades’ which was owned by Queen Victoria. The breed has continued to be a firm favourite with the Royal Family, who for years kept a large Berkshire herd at Windsor Castle. They are now a firm favourite with our family too!

They are characterful, early-maturing pigs (although unlike most commercial farmers, we breed our own pigs and keep them for six months to mature their meat and enhance flavour and texture).  They are well covered with short black hair, often with white hair on their legs, faces, and tips of the tails. Their snouts are dished and are of medium length and their ears are fairly large and erect or slightly leaned forward. They have fine wrinkle-free necks and well-sloped shoulder blades with short, straight legs and a straight underline belly.  We never use antibiotics or growth-promoters and our pigs are strangers to the farm vet (who is always very happy to eat our high-welfare pork!).

Berkshire Pigs are a favourite in Japan where they are called Kagoshima Kurobuta or かごしま黒豚 (lit. Kagoshima black pig).  Also known as Kurobuta ‘The Black Pig’, and prized for their pink-hued, marbled moist flesh and succulent flavour. The naturally high fat content of the pork makes it especially good for high-temperature cooking and for dishes requiring long, slow cooking. It makes the most superb crackling too!

According to The Japan Times, pork is a prominent part of both Kagoshima and Okinawan cuisine.  Kagoshima is a leading producer of pork, and the Kagoshima Kurobuta (black pig) is perhaps the most highly regarded variety. Kurobuta’s reputation has even spread internationally, with chefs around the world specifying it for their pork dishes. The Uncommon Pig Co. is delighted to offer British-raised ‘Kurobuta’ for Japanese chefs in the UK to cook for their discerning customers.