We raise happy heritage breed pigs out on pasture in the summer and in our century barn in the winter. We think you’ll find the quality of our pork is quite different than you’re used to. The meat is darker, juicier and sweeter, and some cuts are more reminiscent of beef. If you want to know how we produce superior pork, keep reading.
We know from experience that the diet and quality of life of the pigs has a direct correlation to the quality of the pork. Happy, active pigs eating a healthy diet (that isn’t designed to fatten them up quickly) means sweet fat and tender, juicy meat. We also raise our pigs for longer which not only means a longer life for the pigs but a noticeable increase in the quality and marbling of the meat.
To get more detailed, our pigs are fed a diet of peas, oats, barley and wheat (and our leftover market produce!). They also forage for bugs in the soil and eat all the native grasses and plants out on their pasture like dandelions, burdock, alfalfa, clover and birds-foot-trefoil. In the fall they help themselves to fallen apples. Because our pigs get lots of exercise, intramuscular fatty deposits develop which is how meat becomes tender. This is also something that doesn’t happen until the pig is a certain age and weight, another reason to raise our pigs for longer.
We also raise heritage breeds of pigs because they are well suited to living outdoors and foraging for food. We also find that the different breeds offer different flavours and fat formations which can be exciting. Some of our piglets comes from neighbouring farms so we can raise a variety of breeds such as Tamworth, Berkshire and Large Black, and we also have our own Red Wattle sow (soon to be 2) who will be bred to Berkshire to produce, we hope, the Perfect Pig.
The Red Wattle breed is known as a leaner pig with excellent tender meat and marbling, though our sow could rival the lard-king Berkshire! Pastured Red Wattle pork is almost like beef with a darker colour and tender texture and is exceptionally rare in Canada. Tamworth pigs were the traditional bacon pig of England due to their long bellies, and also make exceptional meat though the pigs themselves can be quite a handful! Berkshires are the most common of heritage breeds these days, but not without reason. The Berkshire breed is responsible for what may be the best pork in the world – Kurobuta pork from Japan.
But I will say that no matter what breed of pig you start with, ultimately it’s the quality of life, diet and age/weight of the pig that will produce excellent pork. Not all heritage pork is made equal!
Our pork is available at the Trinity Bellwoods Farmers’ Market in Toronto on Tuesdays from 3-7pm, and at the Collingwood Downtown Farmers’ Market on Saturdays from 8:30am-1:00pm. We also take orders for 1/4, 1/2 or whole pigs at select times of the year, and will be offering our pork through some select retailers soon.
Aldergrove Farm Pork Cuts
HONEY GARLIC SAUSAGE
HAM STEAKS (BONE IN)
HAM STEAKS (BONE OUT)
OLD-FASHIONED HAM ROASTS
“ODD BITS” (HEART, TROTTERS, KIDNEY, LIVER, ETC.)
All our pork is processed through J MAR MEATS in Mount Forest and comes to you frozen.