Everyone has heard of Angus Beef and Organic chicken, but what is the next big trend in meat? Heritage pork of course! Heritage pork is prized for being juicy, flavourful and tender. This is due to the fact that this meat is heavily marbled. Its high fat content makes it suitable for long cooking and high-temperature cooking. Heritage pork is very different then what you see in your grocery store today, this is because consumers have demanded a leaner product. In other words, producers have been breeding their pigs to produce leaner meat to meet consumer preferences.
Heritage pork breeds, are hardy animals that in the past were mainly raised for meat, lard and bacon. Some of the heritage breeds include: Berkshire, Tammorth, Red Wattle, Duroc, Gloucester Old Spot, Yorkshire and Large Black. Heritage breeds usually contain more marbling, a desirable quality in meats. The breeds most commonly found in the grocery store today are Yorkshire or Large white/Landrace. These breeds produce leaner meat than heritage breeds.
As with most niche pork markets, the demand for differentiated pork continues to grow in Canada. For example, studies have shown that Berkshires have rated the best in processing and consumer preference. It is the fattest breed with the least amount of lean carcass. Berkshires are known for their marbled meat and flavourful meat. Heritage pork is an option for farmers to offer restaurants and retailers a premium pork product that can compete with other high-end protein choices, such as Angus Beef, Organic Chicken and Provimi Veal.
So in the near future if you see heritage pork on the menu, or who knows, maybe at your local butcher, why not give it a try!