We selected our breeds for one reason only – taste. Our pigs grow slower, take longer and cost more to rear… but they produce outstanding, mouth-watering pork, quite unlike anything you’ll find in the supermarket.
Why rare-breeds? Breeds become commercially successful because they offer the least resistance to monetization: speed and consistency of growth, easy management at the abattoir, and ease of butchery. Breeds that don’t satisfy these criteria are less commercially successful, and become rare as a result. You’ll notice the attributes that make a breed commercially successful have little to do with taste. Some of the best tasting pork comes from breeds that are not commercially successful, and have found themselves classified as rare-breed as a result .
But is it OK to eat a rare-breed? Absolutely. Rare-breeds are kept alive by a passionate group of volunteer conservationists, breeding and keeping the breed viable. But these conservationists are people – individuals with day jobs and mortgages, not large corporations – and without a market for the animals they breed, they simply couldn’t continue. So as counter-intuitive as it sounds, by eating rare-breed pork, you’re actually contributing to the continued survival of the breed. Clever, no?
 The Rare Breed Survival Trust [www.rbst.org.uk] classify the Berkshire breed as “vulnerable” and the Oxford Sandy & Black breed as “at risk”, meaning there are estimated to be only 200-300 and 300-500 breeding females in the UK respectively.