«Previous    Next»
Demand Grows For Old English Pigs
If you’re looking for a heritage hog with great tasting meat and a calm disposition, check out Gloucestershire Old Spots (GOS) pigs. The higher body-fat pigs thrive outside, even in winter, foraging for much of their food. The combination makes them a good choice for small farm, pasture-raised pork.
  “My wife and I are in our 60’s and have raised other heritage hog breeds, but sometimes they can be temperamental,” says Luther Clevenger, White Buffalo Ranch. “We went with GOS pigs because they are so easy to work with. Neither the sows nor the boars are aggressive.”
  While temperament is important, it’s the pork that is driving demand. In 2013 one of Clevenger’s pigs won the Northwest Region Cochon 555, a prestigious culinary competition that focuses on heritage breed pigs.
  “It is fabulous meat, some of the best pork I’ve ever had,” says Clevenger. “I sell to a couple of restaurants as well as individuals, and we can’t keep up with demand.”
  Clevenger keeps about 50 breeding sows on his Willamette Valley farm in Oregon. He raises most females born on the farm to sell for meat to his own customers. Most of the barrows (castrated males) are sold young at 30 to 35 lbs. to be raised for meat by the buyer. A 2-month old barrow will bring $135. Select weaned pigs are sold for breeding at $300 to $400 each. Breeding age gilts and boars are higher, with proven boars and pregnant sows selling for $750 and up.
  “If people buy 10 or more at a time, they get a price break,” says Clevenger.
  Clevenger says even breeding-age boars make good pork. He has taken boars directly from the breeding pasture and made the meat into sausage to give out as samples.
  Clevenger also likes the breed for its hardiness. This past winter he had 5 litters born in sow huts in the pasture during a week of heavy snow and cold.
  “There were no heat lamps, just dry bedding,” says Clevenger. “Breeders in upstate New York keep their herds on pasture through the winter. Their only problem is when they get too much snow and it covers the fences.”
  Clevenger is president of GOS Pig Breeders United, one of 2 breed associations in the U.S. GOS pigs are the oldest spotted pig breed in the world, dating back to 1790. The breed nearly died out, but is now recovering.
  Mature boars can reach 600 lbs. and a mature sow can reach more than 500 lbs. Litters average 6 to 8 pigs. They have floppy ears and a rounded body, are white in color with black spots.
  With a limited gene pool (especially in the U.S.) breeders are encouraged to limit inbreeding. GOS Pig Breeders United members can simply enter the registrations for the boar and sow in a computer program, and it will tell them the inbreeding coefficient.
  “Members can get instant results telling them if the genetics are too close to breed,” says Clevenger. “FARM SHOW readers interested in GOS pigs can contact us for the names of breeders in their area. They can also access names, phone numbers and emails for breeders by state from our website.”
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Gloucestershire Old Spots Pig Breeders United, 6653 Shaw, P.O. Box 1310, Aumsville, Oregon 97325 (ph 503 749-1861; Luther@gospbu.org; www.gospbu.org) or Gloucestershire Old Spots of America, Inc., 13575 40th St. S., Afton, Minn. 55001 (www.gosamerica.org).

  Click here to download page story appeared in.

  Click here to read entire issue

To read the rest of this story, download this issue below or click here to register with your account number.
Order the Issue Containing This Story
2015 - Volume #39, Issue #1