Essington Free-Range Pork is run on traditional principles with an emphasis on top quality high welfare pork.
All our pigs are free to roam outside all of their lives where they have the freedom to exhibit their natural behaviour, rooting in the soil for food and wallowing to keep cool which makes for a happy contented pig. The results of this are a top quality pork product with excellent taste and texture.
Our sows are a cross breed of Landrace and Duroc. The Landrace gives a long pig with good carcass qualities and the Duroc element gives a bit extra fat and good mothering abilities to make an ideal outdoor sow. These sows are then bred using natural service to a Large White boar, a traditional breed giving good size to the piglets which are then reared for our pork and bacon. All our sows are housed individually when giving birth to give them plenty of peace and quiet from the other pigs at this important time, and they really appreciate it!
Unlike many commercial intensive pig farms who wean their pigs at 3–4 weeks old we like to wean our pigs at around 8 weeks of age. Although it means our sows do not achieve as many litters in a life time as other intensive pig farms, we believe that the extra time the piglet stays on the sow gives a healthier piglet, a less stressful sow and ultimately a better tasting pig. After weaning the sow will get a hard-earned rest for around 3 weeks and the piglets will be reared outdoors until a suitable size for pork or bacon. It may take a little longer to rear our pigs this way but we believe the health and happiness of the pigs and the quality and taste of the end products make it all worth while.
There are increasing concerns about the routine use of antibiotics in agriculture which increases antibiotic resistance in people. Our extensive method of rearing our pigs not only makes for a healthier pig but it also vastly reduces any need for antibiotics. We do not routinely administer any antibiotics to our pigs to help them grow or to suppress disease. Because our pigs are generally healthier than most this also reduces the need to treat any individual cases of illness that may arise.
It is our aim to give our Essington Free-Range pigs the best life possible whilst on our farm. This is both better for the pigs themselves and also you the customer as you benefit from a more succulent better tasting product with the safe knowledge that the pork you are eating has been produced in the best ways possible.
Pedigree Hereford Beef
The Hereford cow is one of the most famous of the traditional British beef breeds with its distinctive white face and brown and white body. Renowned for its excellent eating quality and quiet temperament, the Hereford has been seeing a resurgence in popularity.
Being a traditional breed one of the Hereford’s main characteristics is its ability to fatten off grass, without the need to feed supplementary diets of cereals as is the case with modern continental breeds. This grass-based diet makes our cattle slightly slower growing but gives a very tender meat with a superior flavour. This eating quality is also excellent thanks to the marbling characteristic of Hereford meat which when cooked helps improve the texture and taste of the meat: how beef should taste.
Grass-fed beef has been proven to have various health benefits over beef fed on a cereal-based diet. Grass-fed beef is loaded with natural minerals and vitamins, plus it is a great source of conjugated linoleic acid: a fat that reduces the risk of cancer, obesity, diabetes and a number of immune disorders. Grass-fed beef also has the recommended ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fats which is healthy for the heart.
As with our free-range pigs our Pedigree Hereford Cattle are not routinely given any antibiotics. This is because of the extensive grass-based production system which makes for a healthier animal.
Here at Essington we have a suckler herd of pedigree Herefords. This means that we breed off the pedigree Hereford cows with a pedigree Hereford bull and then rear the offspring for meat. Although this is a bit more work than just buying in cattle to fatten up it means that we can select the finest cattle to breed from, ensuring a supreme quality end product for our customers. The pedigree Hereford is also a purpose-bred beef breed where as many other beef cattle originate from the dairy industry. By having pedigree Herefords we are guaranteeing quality.