What is Heritage Pork and Why Should I Buy It?

First off, you should know that Cotton Cattle’s heritage pigs are a cross between Berkshire (known as the world’s best), Duroc and Chester White. We don’t raise the pigs ourselves. Instead, we have a very special relationship with a farmer in Central Pennsylvania. His name is Moses and he has raised heritage pork for over 20 years, including producing for Niman Ranch, which is one of the most popular natural meat suppliers in the U.S. and has been in operation since the 1970’s. 

Thanks to our close relationship with Moses, who truly has a specialized knowledge of raising and caring for heritage pork, Cotton Cattle’s customers have access to extremely high quality pork, free of antibiotics, hormones, and GMO. Plus, working with fellow farmers like Moses means we get to put more time and energy into our grassfed beef and pastured chicken, ensuring that these products are the best they can possibly be when they reach your table at home. But anyway, let’s learn more about heritage pork.

What’s the “heritage” all about?

As you may have guessed, the term “heritage” denotes an original breed of pig, which was the majority (in fact the only at one point) found on pig farms before the industrial agriculture boom. These heritage breeds are naturally thrifty, hardy animals that live off the land and are raised for their meat, bacon and lard. Anything that is not heritage is being bred and raised with quick turnover in mind, which results in meat that is not only terribly lean, but it’s riddled with additives that are foreign to a pig’s natural makeup and also bad for human consumption. 

What are the different types of heritage pigs?

Heritage breeds include Berkshire, Tamworth, Red Wattle, Duroc, Gloucester Old Spot, Yorkshire (Chester Whites are a US-based descendant of the Yorkshire), and Large Black.

Does heritage pork need to be prepared differently?

Heritage pork naturally has a higher fat content, which makes it hard to overcook. It does not get as tough as conventionally raised pork. In fact, lean heritage cuts, like pork tenderloin and chops, should be slightly pink when served. 

Why should I pay more for heritage pork?

Whatever money you appear to be saving by purchasing conventional pork, you can more than double that in the form of another cost down the road - your health, the natural environment in your region, a thriving local economy, and the most immediately recognizable sacrifice, FLAVOR. 

Okay, I’m ready to enjoy heritage pork. What are some recipes?

Whether it’s a classic BLT or fancy fig bites, this bacon roundup from Bon Appetit has 55 recipes worthy of heritage bacon: https://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/slideshow/everything-s-better-with-bacon-slideshow

These Garlic Parmesan Crusted Pork Chops are one of Cotton Cattle’s personal favorites. Remember to pair them with G D Vajra Barbera d'alba.

This pork cutlet recipe is simple and sensational, making it a perfect choice for a busy weeknight and a quaint dinner party: https://www.garlicandzest.com/crunchy-breaded-pork-cutlets/.

Time to pick your pork and enjoy!

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