Jan 20, 2011

Why the Berkshire Pig is a Breed Apart

The heritage breed Berkshire pig originated in England and has a long, rich history. From the beginning, the Berkshire boasted superior characteristics and century long efforts have kept it purebred.  In fact, The American Berkshire Association was founded in 1875 becoming the first Swine Registry to be established in the world. The Berkshire’s characteristics have been established and purified over a very long period and the Berkshire is indeed a splendid example of an improved breed of livestock.  The Berkshire is generally considered the most influential breed of swine in the history of the world.


Champion Berkshire

The Berkshire has been utilized as a breeder into many other types of pigs for the marked improvement in meat quality and flavor they create when crossed with other breeds or common hogs. Their superior characteristics of excellent marbling, fast and efficient growth, reproductive efficiency, and meatiness follow them. Compared to the sheer numbers of other breeds and common hogs, the Berkshires are considered somewhat rare.

In 1876, the first US Berkshire Breed Publication, read:

“The Berkshire meat is better marbled than that of any other breed of swine. That is it has a greater proportion of lean freely intermixed with small, fine streaks of fat making the hams, loins, and shoulders sweet, tender, and juicy. This renders the whole carcass not only the more palatable to persons in general, but are unquestionably the most healthy food. Considering theses facts, the Berkshire, above all others, should be the favorite swine among United States. We ought to take all possible pains in breeding Berkshires in such a manner as to enhance this superior quality …”

Our Berkshires are raised at Christiansen Family Farm nestled close to the Sheeprock Mountains in Vernon, Utah. At Christiansen Family Farm the Berkshires are pasture raised which results in pork nutrient dense in Omega 3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). Christiansen’s Berkshires are also fed locally grown alfalfa/grass hay, Utah grown grains (wheat, barley, oats, and triticale), and fresh produce.  You can now follow them on Facebook.

The Christiansen Family -- Sheeprock Mountains, Vernon, Utah

We process the Berkshires on site — after they are butchered for us by Gary’s Meats in Payson — to create our house made bacon, hams, sausages and more.  All Berkshires have blood lines back to the original England Berkshires and are prized for the juiciness, flavor and tenderness of their pink-hued and heavily marbled meat.   This higher fat content makes it suitable for long cooking times so we smoke lots of it.

Could we procure mass produced, precut pork products? Sure. But that’s just not our style and we’re sure you’ll appreciate all the benefits of going local with us not to mention the excellent flavor and tenderness of our offerings featuring naturally raised Berkshires. They are indeed a breed apart.


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