This April and May, Cranstons are offering customers the chance to try traditionally-reared Saddleback Pork. Local rare breed farmer Sarah Harden of Brougham Hall Farm, Penrith, ensures her pigs are outside all year and mature more slowly than modern commercial breeds, giving the meat a unique flavour, deep colour, and succulent texture.
Sarah has a small herd of Saddlebacks and is as passionate advocate of the need to support Britain’s traditional pig breeds. She is confident that Cranstons customers will notice the difference when compared to commercial breeds, as her pigs are matured slowly for a minimum of six months and are fed on a cereal-based nut, supplemented by farm haylage and seasonal fruit, adding to the pigs’ flavour.
Sarah says, ‘My herd is reared as nature intends. They live outdoors for three hundred and sixty five days of the year in arcs or shelters in large paddocks, and this allows them to live as naturally as possible, rooting, wallowing, and lying out in the sun. Combined with the fact that they are slow-grown and fed a traditional diet, this gives the pork a wonderful taste--it tastes like pork used to taste!’
With the growth of high yield commercial pork breeds in the 1960’s Britain’s traditional pork breeds fell into decline. The decision of key rare breed society members in the 1980s to start selling rare breed meat (‘conservation by consumption’) has been fundamental in rescuing breeds like the Saddleback. Specialist food shops have found a real demand amongst customers for rare breed meat, with its depth of flavour. This renewed demand which has made it commercially viable to rear rare breeds, returning national herd numbers to healthy levels.
Saddleback Pork is the latest ‘speciality meat’ to be promoted by Cranstons, following the success of other meats such as Herdwick Lamb and Salt Marsh Lamb.
Roger Cranston said, ‘Alongside our standard locally sourced meats, Cranstons feature a number of regional specialities throughout the year, giving our customers the chance to try something a bit different. We are particularly excited to be working with Sarah to bring our customers traditional Saddleback pork. Alongside the traditional roasting and frying cuts, we will be producing a highly-spiced, “old-Fashioned Saddleback Pork Cumberland Sausage.”’
Brougham Hall Farm Saddleback Pork will be available at Cranstons flagship Cumbrian Food Hall from Thursday 5th April, as well as via their website.