About Our Pork

AT this time, all of our Pork is committed to a Local Restaurant: G Micheals in German Village

Berkshire History

The Berkshire is one of the oldest identifiable breeds of pig, which dates back some 300 years to the shire of Berks in England. Legend has it that Oliver Cromwell’s army discovered the breed while in winter quarters–and a welcome find that must have been! This black-coated hog with white areas on the face, legs and tail, is known for its juicy, tender, and flavorful meat which is heavily marbled with fat. The Berkshire breed became well-known and wide-spread in England, and was even raised by the Royal Family at Windsor Castle in the 1800s. As a gift from the Royal Family, Berkshire hogs were introduced to Japan, where they have been in high esteem ever since. The Berkshire pig is sometimes known as kurobuta, which is Japanese for “black pork.”

First introduced to the United States in the early 1800s, the Berkshire breed offered improvement to the general hog population when crossed with that stock. The fear that the breed would be completely diluted led breeders to start the American Berkshire Association in 1875, the first swine group and registry in the world. The founding of the ABA was met with enthusiasm by the breeders in the U.S. and in England, and it was agreed that only hogs from English herds, or hogs that could be traced back to them would be registered. The first boar to be recorded in the registry was Ace of Spades, bred by Queen Victoria herself. Today, many of our Berkshire breed pigs are descended from these original registered animals.

In 1876, the first US Berkshire Breed Publication read: “The Berkshire meat is better marbled than that of any other breed of swine. That is it has a greater proportion of lean freely intermixed with small, fine streaks of fat making the hams, loins, and shoulders sweet, tender, and juicy. This renders the whole carcass not only the more palatable to persons in general, but are unquestionably the most healthy food. Considering theses facts, the Berkshire, above all others, should be the favorite swine among United States. We ought to take all possible pains in breeding Berkshires in such a manner as to enhance this superior quality …”

Why aren't Berkshire in the Store?

After World War II, agriculture went through a huge change. Several companies such as E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co, etc, had new factories, built for them by the government, to produce potassium nitrate used to make gun powder and bombs. Turns out, nitrate is also a source of concentrated nitrogen which is a primary chemical that makes plants green and grow rapidly. The addition of chemical nitrogen on virgin organic soil caused extremely high growth and yeilds, especially on corn. The marketing efforts of these companies convinced many farmers in the late 1940s and through the 1950s to try this new wind-fall of chemical fertilizers.1

Unfortunately, the practice quickly burned out the organic matter which is required to produce nitrogen naturally. Yeilds began to drop as the organic matter disappeared. To maintain yields, more chemicals had to be used. Now the soil, like a drug addict, is hooked on chemical fertilizers. The family farmers of the time found this out too late. They couldn't go back. Rebuilding the Organic matter back into the soil takes many non-crop producing years. Farmers, for the first time in their lives, had to take out loans to finance the purchase of chemicals to continue to make a living from their farms. Their farm sizes at the time weren't big enough to make enough additional money for the financing, let alone enough money to consider buying more land to add to what they got from their ancestors. This was the beginning of the end for family farms along with the endless choices they provided and the beginning of large corporate farms with their monotonous choices for consumers. Animals went from outdoor free-ranges to large confinement operations.

For pigs, this met only the breeds that are able to convert feed efficiently and finish out fast survived the corporate culture, while the slow growing, highly marbled and good tasting breeds all but disappeared. For the post-war years, this served a growing young population well. The public wanted cheap necessities, and was willing to sacrifice quality for price. Consequently, many special farm animals including Berkshire hogs began to fall out of fashion. By the 1980s, industrial farming had become the norm, and Berkshire pigs were of no interest to corporate confinement farms, especially with their slower growing time. But the American Berkshire Association never wavered, and just kept on breeding and registering the heritage hogs in small numbers. Meantime, the Japanese maintained the purity of the breed, and valued the tasty, succulent meat, placing a huge premium on Berkshires, known as kurobuta pork in Japan. Beginning in the 1990s, several small family farms in the US created a great specialty business raising purebred Berkshire hogs for export to Japan. Now some Americans have rediscovered the finer things in life, consequently, the Berkshire has become a favorite in finer restaurants and with the health conscious.

Eversole Run Berkshires

Eversole Run Pork is raised in partnership with Darby-Crest Hogs located near Darby Creek on Route 40 in Galloway Ohio. The pigs are all purebred Berkshire and are raised free-range on chemical-free land planted in alfalfa, free to roam over many acres and fed all natural feeds in outdoor feeders along with fresh water. These pigs get to live like pigs are suppose to live. They root in the ground, play, run, socialize.. just very happy pigs.