What are my special features?
The Gloucester Old Spot has large lop ears and pale skin with irregular black spots. It is a dual purpose breed with a docile nature. The carcass produces well-marbled meat and the depth of the body produces high quality bacon and crackling.
What is my history?
This breed has its origins in the Severn Valley in Gloucestershire. This is a cheese and cider region and the Old Spot was sometimes known as the ‘orchard pig’, as it was traditionally found in cider and perry orchards. Old folklore is that the spots are bruises from fallen fruit.
The breed was developed in response to farming conditions in the 1800’s. Farmers needed a hardy animal that would flourish on a varied diet. As far back as records go the ‘Old’ has always been part of the name, implying a long history. Indeed the breed is considered to be the oldest spotted pedigree pig in the world with reference first made to it in 1850. The breed society was formed in 1913.
Why am I forgotten?
In the 1930’s people were encouraged to make bacon at home and this shift marked the beginning of the decline for the Gloucester Old Spot. In spite of the fact that the Gloucester Old Spot makes great bacon, it has a slow rate of maturation and as a result was shunned for faster finishing pigs. This coupled with the trend for leaner meat proved almost fatal and numbers dropped until the 1970’s, since which time it has seen a marked improvement in registered numbers and now has a robust population.
Don’t lose me… cook me!