HERITAGE PORK & HERITAGE PIGS
Heritage pigs were what we ate before World War II and the rise of factory farming.
They lived primarily outdoor lives, feasting on a natural diet of grass, grubs and
grains, plus whey, and produced a fatter, meatier, more tender and tastier pork.
With the onset of factory farming, pigs were bred to be learner which created
blander meat. The new " White Meat" is also drier when cooked because of the
lower fat content and is easier to overcook than heritage pork.
Heritage pork is the result of small family farmers trying to keep these “heritage” pigs
from extinction. Support from fine restaurants and the growing artisan food
movement have helped bring great pork back to American plates. There are a variety
of heritage pigs raised in the U.S.
Ossabaw Island Pig. A feral breed of Ibérico pig descent comes from pigs left on
Ossabaw Island, Georgia by Spanish explorers. The meat has a wild, almost gamy
flavor; but its most distinctive characteristic is a high percentage of healthy, mono
Use of Ossabaw Island Hogs: Prolific Ossabaw Island hogs offer tasty meat with a
firm, not tough, texture. Fat is marbled throughout, with a rind over the ham and the
shoulders. They're larger in the shoulder area, giving more meat on roasts and
chops. They're suitable for home pork and lard production and for niche marketing.
Don Schrider, communications director for the American Livestock Breeds
Conservancy in Pittsboro, points to all kinds of benefits, from hardiness to increased
Omega-3 fatty acids in the fat of animals raised on pasture. Then there's the taste
factor. Everybody agrees that old breeds, raised in the right setting, have it all over
industrial pigs that produce lean meat known for its consistency.
"These breeds on our list, like Tamworth and Ossabaw, all these breeds are winning
acclaim for their flavor," says Schrider. "It's a stark difference between what you can
buy in a grocery store. It's not a subtle difference."
Source : http://www.seriouseats.com/2007/04/farmraised-ossabaw-pigs-old-sc.html
The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, whose mission is to save once
traditional but now endangered livestock breeds that belong to our agricultural
heritage. Already alarmed by the valuable breeds being phased out by agribusiness
in favor of more profitable hogs, the ALBC began studying the endangered
Ossabaws, in particular their meat and fat profiles. High in oleic acid (the one
dominant in olives), Ossabaw fat is so unsaturated it is nearly liquid at room
temperature. Is it heart-healthy? Maybe. Researchers at two state universities-Iowa
State and North Carolina-have been studying not only the composition of Ossabaw
fat but also how the hog’s diet affects it. So far, the fat of field-and-forest foraging
hogs has been found to be lower in saturated fat than that of those fed rations of
grain, which may explain why the Spanish long ago nicknamed their acorn-fed
Ibericos “four-legged olive trees.”
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