Introducing the Tamworth: A Heritage Breed Pig
The handsome man and I are moving forward in our "pig operation." As with anything we do on the farm we like to start small and get familiar before we go bigger. You may remember we started with two pigs, neutered boys, from a local pig farm and dairy. While these pigs are perfectly lovely (and I'm sure will taste wonderful) we wanted "something more." Heritage breed pigs go back hundreds of years to "our roots," When a farm was a farm and not a concrete paradise (in homage to Joni). Heritage breed pigs are meant to be raised naturally, as foragers and grazers, with no artificial stimulus. Because of this they also take longer to mature (which is why factory farms don't find them beneficial) and also why they are in some cases critically rare.
But we are not a factory farm. We are a farm dedicated to beauty and simplicity. And so for us, raising a heritage breed and continuing the bloodline is important.
We have chosen to start with Tamworths.
The Tamworth originated in Ireland before being bred extensively in England. Smaller in comparison, the Tamworth has a reddish coat, muscular top, rounded back, upright ears and a long snout. Its disposition is very rugged, thrifty and active. Known for its ample belly "aka the best bacon hog," the Tamworth displays a firm trim jowl and underline with muscular hams. Source.
And so, after reading this you may have also guessed, Heritage Pork tastes better.
Heritage breed pigs have high fat marbling throughout the meat, which equates to richer, deeper flavor. Heat plus fat equals caramelization (without having to add a lot of oils, butters, shortenings or unnatural fats). Additionally, they are fed natural, indigenous diets throughout their lives, which adds to their robust flavor. Source.
We are lucky that about an hour south of us New Heritage Farms has already started making strides to bring the Tamworth back to our Region. Although they were once raised here they slowly left (ie: weren't bred anymore) until recently. In fact, New Heritage Farms had to import their first pigs from Colorado. But now we will join three other farms in the state of Washington to breed and appreciate the Tamworth. We're thrilled to have met Vickie, the owner of New Heritage Farms as she is not only a passionate farmer and a wealth of knowledge she's also a complete hoot! We're starting with two little girls and a boy. They will become the king and queens of our pig forest and honestly, I couldn't be more excited for those little girls to grow up. Watching Vickie's big girls was remarkable. They are unlike any pig I've ever seen. I told Mr. Nick they reminded me of a triceratops...and we all know how much I love dinosaurs.
To learn more about the Heritage Breeds click here for a pretty cool .pdf put together by COCHON 555. An annual event featuring 5 chefs, 5 pigs and 5 winemakers serving to preserve heritage breed pigs by promoting breed diversity in communities nationwide.