What's better about free range meat?
We firmly believe that we should understand where our meat comes from, with the welfare of the animal in mind. We not only know where our meat comes from, but we know our animals as individuals, and we make sure we give them the best lives possible. The pigs are able to live as pigs, wandering and foraging in woodland and pasture, socializing and playing. The lambs stay with their mothers until they go go market, consuming only fresh grass and mother's milk. We certainly can't prove this, but we think the happier the animal, the tastier the meat. Or maybe it just tastes better because we know the these animals have lived happy, contented lives.
If Gloucestershire Old Spot pigs are a threatened breed, why raise them for for meat?
Many endangered breeds of farm animals wouldn't be around today if the breed wasn't used for its purpose - in this case, a pig with a wonderful, calm temperment, an excellent ability to forage, supurb mothering skills, and a dark marbled meat that is beyond compare. Of course, we love selling our best breeding stock to farms that also wish to preserve and improve the breed, but others that do not meet that standard will become "meat ambassadors", filling freezers and becoming the most delicious ham, bacon, roasts and chops. Everyone who tastes Old Spot pork can tell the difference, and this is what creates a market for their meat. A local market for GOS pork means we can raise more, and the more we raise, the more we increase breed numbers and secure the future of Gloucestershire Old Spots. Currently, 97% of pork produced in the U.S. is mass produced in confinement on factory farms. You can change that buy buying humanely raised, local pastured pork!
Can pigs and sheep really share a pasture?
We didn't believe multi-species grazing until we tried it, but not only do the pigs and sheep share a pasture, they seem to enjoy it. The sheep eat their favorite grasses, legumes and weeds, and the pigs follow behind, turning up roots, eating grubs, and aerating and fertilizing the pasture in the process. The sheep have built-in guardians (no coyote would mess with a 500-lb sow!), and the pigs have endless entertainment. They think the sheep (who have bells on their collars), are fluffy pig toys who jingle when chased. The sheep don't seem to mind, and snuggle up next to the pigs for nap time. All-in-all, they are good (if not great) friends, and make maximum use of our pasture.