The Red Wattle is today’s breed of the day for HERITAGE BREEDS WEEK! Named for their signature wattles that hang from their jowls — a feature that all pigs used to have — this breed was brought over by French colonists to New Orleans as a favored source of meat. Rich in marbling, the meat is reminiscent of beef with its intense flavor.
The foundation of the heritage breed conservation movement is of course farmers. Our Red Wattle pigs come from Larry Sorell’s network of Amish family farms. A founding partner of Heritage, Larry remembers the early days, saying, “The Red Wattle was on their way to being extinct, we had to raise ‘em to eat ‘em or they were going to disappear, that’s where it was at. When I started delivering hogs for Patrick, he had just started Heritage. He’s the one that really got the breed going – he got the meat to the chefs — in restaurants and homes around the country.”
Heritage breeds mean healthy animals. The genetics of factory farm animals are a far cry from their heritage brethren. Industrial agriculture has pushed certain traits — like size and growth rate — more than they should, more than what’s healthy for the animal. It compromises both humaneness and flavor, all in the name of profit 🤮. The farmers raising these animals are preserving a link to our past, one that is threatened daily by fast food and factory farms.
We owe a great debt of gratitude to the farmers that raise these animals, putting in the manual labor from sunrise to sunset. Thank you to David Newman, Larry Sorrel, Craig Good, Sharon Meyer, the Baker Brothers, and Doug Metzger.