Honoring the Old Spot
Why do farmers continue to invest the energy, time, and money in these floppy-eared spotted gentle giants when other pig breeds are easier to source, faster to grow, and produce a thinner layer of back fat (and less hair!)?
For some, the answer lies in wanting to protect biodiversity. For others it’s a love of history or a desire to resist the consolidation of the industry that raises primarily a single breed at the expense of all others. But we are convinced that the answer lies in the particular taste and flavor that only Old Spots possess. The pork is the creamiest of any of the rare breeds. Old Spot pork is a sweet meat high in marbling, making it perfect for charcuterie production or for serving medium rare. It’s no surprise that chefs and charcutiers have driven the movement to expand the number of farms raising the Old Spot.
The Old Spot originated in the Berkeley Vale of Gloucestershire, England during the 1800s. Heritage Foods added the Old Spot to our offerings around 2012, about six years after we started our pork program that to date had featured only Berkshire and Red Wattle pigs. We ran to share the news with our English chefs like the great April Bloomfield who was just as excited as we were that now a second English breed would be readily available for her menu.
Now we are approaching our 12-year anniversary raising the Old Spots thanks to Craig and Amy Good of Good Farms in Oldsburg, Kansas and with Craig retiring, Dustin Torneden has taken over the herd and the genetics inherent to them.
The Old Spots are stubborn — their floppy ears hang over their face and keep them from seeing well — so they like to do things on their own time and are never in too much of a hurry. They are cautious pigs and just kind of mosey along. On the positive side, Old Spots love their piglets. They care for them well and produce a lot of milk.
We look forward to carrying on the tradition of the Old Spot pigs that have become part of our program and the menus of our chefs who desire the particular characteristics of the Old Spot to bring out the best of their work. Today, we are excited to offer a very limited supply of our favorite Old Spot cuts from Good Farms including boston butts, porterhouse pork chops, boneless maple sugar cured hams, and Signature bacon — or try a variety of cuts in our Old Spot Quarter Hog!