Deer Run Farm expanded their product line in their farm store with the addition of farm grown pork in the Fall of 2020. Although pork is new to the farm store, several hundreds of pigs were raised in the early years of Deer Run Farm when Josh and Joanna were raising them to show at fairs for 4H. Back then, breed wasn't a main focus for the farm so there were several different breeds kept at a time.
We purchased our first Berkshire bred gilt for our new pork venture in May 2021 from the superior genetics of Shipley Swine in Ohio. The first litter of piglets arrived in early July 2021.
The Berkshire is the Deer Run Farm pig breed of choice for their well-known meat quality and docile personalities.
Originating in the English county of Berkshire, for which they are named, the Berkshire pigs first came to be in the 18th century. Originally they were large, orangish-brown colored pigs with floppy ears. Early cross-breeding with small black pigs imported from Asia resulted in the medium sized, black with white socks, snout and tail tipped Berkshire with erect ears they have today.
On average a Berkshire boar can be expected to weigh around 600lbs with its female counterpart weighing around 500lbs. Of course, with any pig, maintaining a proper diet with intake restrictions is necessary to curb excess weight gain in their adulthood.
The biggest factor earning the Berkshire the breed of choice for Deer Run Farm is their incredible taste and meat quality. Berkshire pork is said to have a higher pH level than other breeds catapulting it to the top of it's class when it comes to flavor. The meat is generally a bit darker, firmer and heavily marbled attributing to it's prized flavor and juiciness.
All pork offered through our farm is from the pigs we raise right here on the farm. All of our pigs are born and raised on the farm and fed feeds we plant, grow and harvest on the farm too. Our piglets are conventionally raised with access to a large plot of pasture. We keep two mother sows, Astrid and one of her first daughters; Abby. Each sow will raise 2 litters of piglets per year. Astrid pigs in July and December while Abby pigs in March and September. Having a litter of piglets every 3 months keeps pork available in the store all year round, but is also manageable without reducing the quality of life the pigs have here.
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