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Shaw Family Farms

In 1998, Father and Son Ronald and Jamie Shaw bought their property in Aldergrove BC.  The father/son team specializes in old-school farming practices, ones in which the animals are raised naturally without the use of GMO's, growth hormones, antibiotics and left on their own accord to roam free on the range. These animals are fed a diet consisting of spent brewery grains, overripe vegetables and any other organic treats Jamie can get his hands on. He breads a heritage/pink cross giving the meat a perfect blend of marbled fat and lean protein.

What is a heritage pig?

Heritage breed pigs come from bloodlines going back hundreds of years when livestock was raised on multi-use, open-pasture farms. Because of their lifestyle and inherent genes, different breeds became known for a variety of characteristics, including the rich and hearty taste of their meat, distinct marbling, bacon flavor and creamy fat. Today, these breeds still carry excellent qualities, but many are not suited for commercial farming practices. As a result, they are in danger of being lost forever. As fewer heritage breed pigs are grown, their gene pool decreases and some breeds are now becoming critically rare. In today’s commercial market, heritage breeds cannot compete with commodity pigs.

Originating from Britain, Berkshire is the most popular of the heritage breeds. Known as “Kurobuta” in Japan, this pig is black with white legs, and has become a favorite with chefs because of its intramuscular marbling. The breed yields a brighter pork than most, and features a thick, delicious fat cap. The meat is sweet and creamy with hints of nuttiness, which is typical of the finishing process in several areas.

While it remains challenged, it is possible that the Tamworth originated from 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.

Originating from Chinese breeds and brought to England, the Large Black is a critically rare breed known for its taste, pasture foraging skills and overall hardiness. Large Blacks have short black hair, wide shoulders and a long body. When harvested, even at 200 pounds, the micro-marbling, short muscle fibers and excellent bellies produce exceptional bacon and moist meat with old world flavor

Pork FatOmega 3:6

The diet and lifestyle of our pigs radically affect the composition of their fat. Pork that is raised in confinement and on commercial feed has a similar OMEGA 6:3 ratios to feedlot beef. A 100gm serving has about 8 grams of O-6 and 0.8 grams of O-3. A more healthful ratio of O-6:O-3 can be achieved by increasing the number of fresh greens foraged by the animal. Our free living hogs have a ratio approaching 1:1.


Top SirloinMore Nutritious Pork

Pigs raised on pasture have 300 percent more vitamin E and 74 percent more selenium (a vital antioxidant) in their milk than pigs raised in confinement, according to Don C. Mahan Professor of Animal Sciences at Ohio State University. This bounty of nutrients promotes healthier litters, shorter farrowing times, and good milk let down. Pastured pigs raised outdoors can also have more Vitamin D in the lard. Loren Cordain cites three studies on his website for the following quote: “Because pigs are monogastric animals (single stomach), they have the ability to convert vegetable and plant 18 carbon fatty acids (ALA) to the 20 and 22 carbon fatty acids (EPA and DHA) which reduces inflammation, reduce cardiovascular disease and promote good health for us all when we eat pork. Free-ranging pork contains higher concentrations of these beneficial fatty acids that are found in their feedlot produced counterparts.”Additionally, there are no unnecessary antibiotics or growth stimulators given to organic, pasture-raised pork.

20a-800Better Tasting Pork

Sunshine, Grass & Low Stress – The Recipe for Perfect Pork. Say goodbye to flavorless, dry and anemic looking pork. Pasture raised pork is richer tasting. Each breed tastes different, and the flavor differs depending on what the pigs have eaten. Once you try it, you’ll never want to eat CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation) pork again. Pastured pork does cook faster than conventionally raised pork, so searing the outside of cuts like chops, then transferring to the oven to finish is your best bet. Low and slow techniques like braising are also great with pastured pork.

Little brown pigsHappier Pigs

You likely have seen the images from films that illustrate CAFO conditions. Crowding, artificial lights, and a steady diet of soy and corn all lead to a very stressful life. A large CAFO building holds up to 2,500 sows or 10,000 market hogs, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Their end-of-life is also not always as humane as it could be. Small farmers who raise their pigs using organic standards must offer pigs access to the outdoors shade, shelter, exercise areas, fresh air, and direct sunlight suitable to the species. Farmers who go the extra mile and become Animal Welfare Approved have even stricter standards when it comes to treatment and humane slaughter. Additionally, pasture-raised pork is generally a heritage breed pig. When you support producers that use these older breeds, you are preserving them for the future. This is important because when we lose a pig breed, it’s lost forever.

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