Duroc, Hampshire, or a cross of the two
Although, all hogs raised in the United States were at one time or another “imports,” Duroc and Hampshire hogs are distinctly American in their development. As Cincinnati, OH became known as “Porkopolis” in the early 1800’s, these breeds took shape and gained a reputation for quality. Durocs are red hogs (the color can range from a light yellow/red to a deep mahogany) with floppy ears that are known for their hardiness, muscling, and fast growth. Our Duroc hogs have a good deal of marbling which translates into very tasty chops. Hampshire hogs have upright ears and are black with a distinctive white belt around their middle including their front legs. Hampshire hogs are known for their mothering ability and longevity. They also produce lean, tender, flavorful meat. Major development credit goes to breeders in Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana as they improved stock that came from upstate New York and New England. Both breeds are very good foragers.
When the two breeds are crossed, all of the piglets are black with some white (sometimes belted), but their ears are floppy. These hybrid piglets grow faster, are thicker, and combine the Duroc marbling with the Hampshire tenderness and flavor.
Why aren’t all our pigs crossed?
In order to achieve the benefits of cross-breeding, we need to keep purebred lines. Only the very best animals are kept for breeding, so the rest are used to supply our CSA, farmers market and custom butchered meat orders. Whether the pork from Cedar Valley Sustainable Farm is Duroc, Hampshire, or crossbred, it is the very highest quality.
We work closely with Mark and Kristin Boe of LaPryor farms to get our breeding stock as well as finished hogs. The Boes are experienced and knowledgeable hog breeders and have developed a successful business supplying pork to some of the finest restaurants in Chicago. We will continue to work with Mark and Kristin as we grow our pork herd and hog infrastructure at Cedar Valley Sustainable Farm.