It’s 6am and Steven Anderson from Wagga Free Range Pork is pulling on his gumboots to feed his drove of purebred Berkshire pigs.
His free-range hogs live outdoors all the time meaning they wake up with the sun and will give him a hard time if they’re not tucking into their fresh fruit and vegetables soon after sunrise.
Steve runs multiple pigs at a time, with a regular rotation of piglets coming in to replace the 6-month-olds that are sent to the abattoir once they reach 50kg.
Steve runs the farm alongside his partner Leah and their three children Matthew, Nicolas, and Ashleigh.
Steve successfully completed a course with a heritage pig expert, and he can now call himself a qualified pig stockman. The family are also members of The Australian Pig Breeders Association, and they are committed to keeping purebred lines.
Berkshire pigs are marbled throughout, meaning they offer more flavour than commercially bred “white” pork. Sometimes known as the “black pig”, Berkshires originated in the UK and were first imported to Australia in the early 1900s.
Their pork is famous for having the perfect combination of juiciness, flavour, and tenderness. Traditionally, Berkshire sows were prized for their superior milking and mothering abilities, and their black skin means they can withstand the hot and sunny Australian climate.
Steve says that an important part of the flavour is attributed to the pig’s diet, and he is a strong believer that you are what you eat, as with the pigs they eat loads of fresh fruit and vegetables along with specially-formulated pig pellet grain along with clean fresh water.
When the mothers are ready to give birth to a litter, they will find a quiet spot in one of the farm’s pregnancy paddocks and will build a little nest where they want to have their babies. Steve will then usually build a shelter around them and has found that the mothers have a better success rate when they choose where to birth their piglets.
At Wagga Free Range Pork, they also have a strong focus on developing unique handcrafted sausages. Some examples of sausages they have created in the past include:
If you want to chat with Steve about his famous Berkshires or would like to sample some of their delicious sausages, you can find them every Saturday at Stall 141
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