Why did the B & B Ranch choose Berkshires for their pork herd?
It's all about the taste! In tests for eating characteristics performed by the National Pork Producers Association (NPPA), Berkshires came in first overall and ranking above all the other breeds in 19 of the 24 tests that the NPPA performs.
Berkshire pigs are one of the oldest identifiable breeds. Black hogs, with white “points” on their feet, snouts and tails were documented in the English “shire of Berks” over 350 years ago. They made their way to the United States in the early 1800s and by 1875, breeders had formed the American Berkshire Association (ABA), the first breeders’ group and swine registry in the world. As the pork industry consolidated under the control of just a handful of large corporations in the 1980s and 1990s, and efficiency of production came into focus, the breed went into steep decline.
Slower growing, Berkshires did not produce as much lean meat or perform as well in confinement as the Duroc, Hampshire and Yorkshire breeds for large scale commercial farming. But they're hardy, with good siring instincts, and Berkshires perform very well on an open pasture plan, especially when grazing.
The meat is darker, marbled and far more flavorful than commercial pork. 100% pure Berkshire pork is, today, very much in demand by Chefs at some of the nation's leading gourmet and upscale restaurants. With a very specific taste, there is nothing generic about Berkshire pork, and we think you'll enjoy every bite.