Our naturally raised pigs are happy and free, and because they get to grow, root, and wallow outside with acres and acres of wide open spaces of lush clover, dotted with fruit trees, complete with a little stream, to roam in, they are very healthy and hearty, making the need for medications and antibiotics virtually non existent. Any animal that does need medical treatment is kept close track of and marketed with full disclosure.
It is because our pigs are allowed to run free that they grow slower than the commercial factory farmed pigs. This slower rate of growth is what gives our pork it’s exceptional table qualities and succulent rich, well marbled meat with a full flavour.
Our Berkshire sows are very attentive mothers and take good care of their piglets. In the summer our sows give birth to their babies in shelters on the pasture and within a couple weeks the little guys are running around, following their mother, rooting in the grass, feeling the sunshine on their backs, and wallowing in the mud when they are hot. In the winter they are inside a barn with warm straw and have access to the outdoors.
When the piglets are about 6-7 weeks old, and I see they are fighting with their mother to eat the grains I feed them twice daily, I know it’s time to wean them. Once they are weaned they will be moved to a pasture of their own where they are able to do what pigs do best, eat, sleep, wallow, root, and grow, and live a happy free life outside with available shelter when they need it.
Our pigs have a widely varied diet, consisting of grass, clover, barley, oats, peas, fresh fruits, and non GMO corn and soybeans. This widely varied diet is also a contributor to the exceptional full rich flavour of our natural pork. Although we are not certified organic, we farm based on organic principles, our pastures have not had herbicides or pesticides sprayed on them for the last 5-7 years.
When the pigs are about 80-90kg they are taken to the local abattoir about 10 minutes drive from our farm where they are then processed according to your custom order.
At Arrowhead we crossbreed two heritage breeds of pigs, Berkshire and Tamworth. The Berkshire originated in England and is considered Britain’s oldest pig, unfortunately they have lost most of their commercial value because of modern demand for faster growing leaner pigs, and have become rare and need to be preserved.
They are considered a “lard” pig, and as with all coloured pig breeds, the Berkshire suffered a serious decline in popularity following World War II when the demand for leaner bacon from white-skinned pigs increased and then in the 1960s with the development of breeding companies that favoured white breeds.
Today’s increasing interest in traditional meat produced extensively has renewed interest in the breed. Although it is a coloured breed, the meat dresses out white and, as this is an early-finishing breed, an ideal carcase weighs between 70kg and 90kg.
The Tamworth also originated in England along with some genetics from Ireland and are thought to be descendants from the old indigenous species, the Old English Forest pig. It has maintained this status because at the end of the 18th Century, when many native breeds were ‘improved’ by crossing them with Chinese and Neapolitan stock, the Tamworth was not deemed fashionable and hence left alone. It is now therefore the oldest pure English breed and, as a result, it is also sometimes crossed with wild boar to produce distinctive gamey pork.
The red-gold hair of the Tamworth ensures that it is one of the most easily recognisable of the traditional pig breeds. A typical Tamworth has the longest snout of the present day domestic breeds. It has prick ears, giving it an alert appearance. This reflects its inquisitive nature – a characteristic enforcing its reputation for speed within the Show ring.
The Tamworth is hardy and can be kept in environments ranging from rough pasture to meadowland, well suited for adverse northern climates like Scotland and Canada. Of all the native breeds it is particularly resistant to sunburn.
Well over a century ago, when landowners, farmers, hotel keepers and cottagers kept pigs to cure their own bacon, the Tamworth enjoyed popularity due to its ability to produce white-fleshed carcases with long sides and big hams. As the breed’s name suggests, these pigs are traditionally remembered as cottagers’ pigs in the Midlands.
We are strong advocates of sustainable farming practices, and do what we can to ensure local nutritious food for future generations. Sustainability should not stop with the farmer, it can continue through the entire chain (Farmer, Processor, Consumer), you as the consumer can help the sustainability of the farmer and processor, by ordering a half or whole animal at a time, by using the entire animal this improves the efficiency of the processing and delivery of the animal, as well as being more economical for you the consumer to buy sustainable animal products from Arrowhead! Please contact us via the form below to order your natural pastured pork today.