Berkshire pigs are a rare breed of pig originating from the English county of Berkshire and the pigs provide true ‘heritage’ pork. They were recognized and prized for their eating qualities over 300 years ago in England.
Herds of the breed are still maintained in England by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust at Aldenham Country Park, Hertfordshire, and by the South of England Rare Breeds Centre in Kent. The Berkshire is listed as vulnerable; as of 2008, fewer than 300 breeding sows were known to exist. Some pigs of the breed are also kept in New Zealand and Australia, but fewer than a hundred purebred registered sows are there now.
Did you know???
Berkshire pork ranks at or near the top for:
• High Ultimate pH Score- relates to low cooking loss, better water-holding capacity, high degree of tenderness
• Loin Firmness / Drip Loss- results in improved processing quality, tenderness
• Meat Colour- consumers consistently prefer darker pork
• Cooked Loin Quality- high scores for intramuscular fat percent, tenderness and juiciness all predict better consumer satisfaction
Berkshire pork is unique because of its rich flavoured taste, deep colouring, and fine intramuscular marbling which is akin to that of a well marbled steak. It has gained International Recognition – yes the Japanese LOVE Berkshire pigs as much as Wagu. Berkshire Pork is the Wagu of the Pig World. Who wouldn’t love it. Japanese consumers have a special name for the Berkshire breed. They call it Kurobuta, or “black pig”. Because pork from the purebred Berkshire is so tender, juicy and flavorful, the Japanese have long recognized the value of Berkshire pork.
''The Wessex Saddleback or Wessex Pig is a breed of domestic pig originating in the West Country of England, (Wessex), especially in Wiltshire and the New Forest area of Hampshire. It is black with white forequarters. In Britain it was amalgamated with the Essex pig to form the British Saddleback, and it is extinct as a separate breed in Britain. However, the Wessex Saddleback survives in Australia and New Zealand.
The Wessex Saddleback breed society began in 1918 in Britain, but by the middle of the 20th century pig farming was becoming more and more intensive. The more extensive systems to which the Wessex is suited declined, and the breed declined with them. Meanwhile, the similarly coloured (but otherwise rather different) Essex had followed a similar course, and in 1967 the two breeds were merged in an effort to prevent both becoming extinct. This formed a hybrid breed, the British Saddleback (confusingly, the name "Wessex Saddleback" is often used loosely in Britain for the British Saddleback). A few herds of Essex Pigs survived in a relatively pure form in Britain, and efforts
The Saddleback is very commonly known for its White Strip/Saddle on the pig. The meat is Heritage ad tasty, but takes extensive time to grow out.are being made to revive them as a separate breed, but the Wessex is currently considered extinct in its country of origin.
However, before amalgamation some Wessex Saddlebacks had been exported to other parts of the world, and the breed survives in small numbers in Australia, New Zealand, and perhaps elsewhere. In Australia in 2008 there are less than 100 registered breeding sows, and they are considered critically endangered by the Rare Breeds Trust of Australia.' - Wikipedia
'Australia’s herd of Wessex Saddlebacks has international significance because the pigs here were imported before the amalgamation or the Essex and Wessex Herdbooks to become the one British Saddleback..... Saddlebacks, being traditionally prized for their fat tend to be hard to finish to heavier weights with acceptable fat scores. They can also have pigmentation and the carcass which may still show the stripe and sometimes have "seedy belly" which is pigmentation in the glands in the belly, this aside they make wonderful eating and are listed on the Ark of Taste.' - Rare Breeds Trust Australia