Why Berkshire pork? Taste the difference!

You may have heard of Berkshire pork, it’s on the menu of many fancy restaurants, such as Spago’s in Beverley Hills or the French Laundry in California. It is also referred to as Kurobuta – meaning black pig in Japanese (Berkshire pork is very popular in Japan).

Berkshire pork is a heritage breed of pig, which was discovered over 300 years ago in Berkshire County in the United Kingdom. Berkshire pork is renowned for its richness, texture, marbling, juiciness, tenderness and overall depth of flavor. It is thought by many to be the Kobe beef of pork. It is said to have a very specific taste, not generic and bland or mild like regular pork.

Berkshire pork is prized for juiciness, flavor and tenderness, is pink-hued and heavily marbled.

The Berkshire’s originated from England. They were specially bred for the King of England for his own personal meat supply, because of the excellence in the meat!

Today Berkshire Pork is the most highly sought after pork in the world. Berkshire pork looks and tastes like no other pork. Unlike commodity pork or “The Other White Meat” Berkshire pork is visibly different. It has a darker richer color with an abundance of intramuscular marbling. Its flavor is distinctive with an unparalleled juiciest and tenderness for pork.

At Green Valley Farm, our sows are bred only twice a year, and they farrow in larger pens that protect the piglets from extreme weather conditions but still allow freedom of movement. Our pigs eat fresh vegetables from the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp up the road from the farm, as well as grain from a Connecticut Coop.

Green Valley Farm DOES NOT use antibiotics to promote growth, or to control or mask disease as with sub-therapeutic doses of antibiotics in feed. Nor do our animals receive added growth hormones.  All of our animals are raised natural.

Importance of sustainably raised local meats

It seems that there is a crucial link between a pig’s diet and the flavor of the pork. Most industrially raised pigs survive on corn and soybeans, while Berkshire pigs often eat (or should I say ‘dine’) on oats, molasses, fresh vegetables and fruits. Pigs are unique because the fat that they eat is redistributed into their muscle fiber – Meaning that pigs are, literally, what they eat. So, what a pig is fed is very important to how it tastes.

At Green Valley Farm, we have literally put this to the test. We have sampled, side-by-side: pork from other farmers that are fed garbage scraps and they had a fairly bland taste; pork fed left-over Chinese food and they were extremely greasy and generally not very good; and we’ve tried pork raised on nothing but scraps from them Dunkin’ Donuts and they were inedible (like duh… poor little piggies.)

Research proves that Berkshire pork is the taste winner

In fact, there have been numerous of taste tests, studies and general research done on Berkshire pigs. They all say that Berkshire pork is genetically predisposed to producing the finest quality pork due to its shorter muscle fibers and lots of marbling, which contributes to both the flavor and the tenderness. They also say that the reason why Berkshire pork is so juicy and tender, is the lack of stress on the animal. Stress causes the meat to be dry and tough. Berkshire pigs raised at Green Valley Farm are raised in a low-stress environment- meaning that they are usually allowed to roam where they want and they have plenty of shade to keep them cool.

So, is Green Valley Farm’s Berkshire pork better? The first bite will stop you dead in your tracks. The texture, juiciness, and all of the other stuff they said about it was true. It is simply divine!

Green Valley Farm pasture-raised Berkshire pork by Heather & Daniel Driscoll