We rear Gloucestershire Old Spot
About our Animals
The Pedigree rare breed pigs left in Britain today are what remain following the introduction of intensive methods of pig production based mainly on the Landrace breed. Most pork is now produced from these very lean, quick growing breeds kept in intensive indoor conditions. Like all factory produced meat it has lost a lot of its character, quality and taste. The price of the meat has been pushed down and margins are so tight that they lead to cost cutting and welfare concerns.
Many of the older breeds have come close to extinction in their past as they have been dropped from commercial pig production. They are not lean enough, or long enough, large enough on the hams or as fast and efficient at growing. But they are hardier and can happily live free range. They are slower growing and cost a bit more to keep and get to suitable weights. But they do produce a better quality meat.
“By eating the produce of rare breeds it encourages more people to keep more of them and therefore you will be helping us to save rare breeds” quote from The Rare Breeds Survival Trust
Gloucester Old Spot: The breed was developed in Gloucestershire when most cottages had a pig in a sty at the bottom of the garden. It was evolved from crossing a Berkshire with the original Gloucestershire, which was fast losing popularity by the middle of the 19th century. The Gloucestershire Old Spot thrived on waste from the county's two main industries — apple growing and cheese production. Windfall fruit and whey formed the basis of its diet. Local folklore attributes the spots to bruises from falling apples!
The Gloucestershire Old Spot has a very docile temperament making it ideal for less intensive methods of rearing, where animals mix and run in groups, and they thrive on grazing, with their diets supplemented by potatoes, roots, apples and whey.
These pigs have the perfect covering of fat (which makes for superb crackling) with the real old-fashioned qualities of taste and succulence.
Tamworths: Originally raised in Ireland and known as the "Irish Grazer", these hogs were imported to a farm in Tamworth, Staffordshire, England in the early 19th century. Their more distant origins are unknown, but they are thought to be a direct and true descendant of an Old English breed, as various physical traits are thought to come from wild boar.
Tamworths range from a golden to dark red - it is thought that the red pigmentation is what prevents them getting sunburned. They have a long snout, upright ears, and a long, lean and deep-sided body
Tamworths yield high-quality lean meat, without fat marbling common in many breeds. Their meat is known for excellent bacon, for which it was bred in Tamworth, but as "the other white meat" it also cooks up succulent, moist and tender.
Dexter Cattle: Dexters are the smallest British breed of cattle originating from the south western region of Ireland and were first introduced into this country in 1882. They are a dual purpose breed producing quality milk and wonderful well marbled beef of excellent quality and flavour.
Welsh Black Cattle: Welsh Black cattle have been bred in Wales for well over 1000 years, this hardy breed produces high quality meat and milk. Welsh Black beef at a special blind tasting by 12 top London chefs beat of competition from other beef breeds from all over the world to be declared “Best Tasting Beef Fillet in the World”.
Hereford Cattle: Our Hereford cattle are renowned for their docile nature and ability to thrive and mature on a diet of grass, rather than needing manufactured feed rations. The cattle mature slowly and naturally in their family groups. This gives the beef its unbeatable flavour and quality. We hang the beef for an average of three weeks and hand butcher in the traditional way. Delicious!
Herdwick Sheep: Herdwick sheep are the native breed of the central and western Lake District and live on the highest of England’s mountains.
The word Herdwyck meaning sheep pasture is recorded in documents going back to the 12th century and are the hardiest of hill sheep. The Herdwick lambs mature more slowly than most conventional breeds producing the meats renowned distinctive taste and texture with superb depth of flavour, it is high in the beneficial Omega 3 fat. It was also the meat eaten at the Coronation Dinner in 1953.
Grove Farm, Stanshope, nr. Ashbourne, Derbyshire DE6 2AD | Tel: 01335 310436 | • Email
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