Pork: The Berkshire Breed

Three hundred years ago - so legend has it - Oliver Cromwell's army, discovered the Berkshire hog in winter quarters at Reading, the county seat of the shire of Berks in England. After the war, these veterans carried the news to the outside world of the wonderful hogs of Berks; larger than any other swine of that time and producing hams and bacon of rare quality and flavor.

For 200 years now the Berkshire blood has been pure, as far as the records are known today.

The excellent carcass quality of the Berkshire hog made him an early favorite with the upper class of English farmers. For years the Royal Family kept a large Berkshire herd at Windsor Castle.

The English subspecies originated, at the start of the 9th century, from the interbreeding of various other subspecies, among them the Italian "Casertana", other native breeds and certain Chinese breeds. From this original English breed many others have been derived, today widespread throughout the world such as the Duroc and the Pietrain. Large, fatty type, it is appreciated for its significant speed of growth. For this characteristic the true Berkshire are used to interbreed with posthumous breeds. It features improved meat to bone ratios and is adapted to being raised in the open.

The true Berkshire produces lean meat of excellent quality that distinguishes itself from the older breeds in that it offers both lean meat and large quantities of lard, whereas the older breeds lacked in lard production.

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