Sugar Ridge Ranch
Jon, Charlotte & Vivian Stephenson

608-637-6474 (H) / 608-774-3151 (C)

Why Berkshire?

Why Berkshire pork? Taste the difference!

You may have heard of Berkshire pork, it’s on the menu of many fancy restaurants, such as Spago’s in Beverley Hills or the French Laundry in California. It is also referred to as Kurobuta – meaning black pig in Japanese (Berkshire pork is very popular in Japan, and the Japanese have been long time fans of the superb taste it yields.)

Berkshire is a heritage breed of pig, which was discovered over 300 years ago in Berkshire County in the United Kingdom. Berkshire pork is renowned for its richness, texture, marbling, juiciness, tenderness and overall depth of flavor. It is thought by many to be the Kobe beef of pork. It is said to have a very specific taste, not generic and bland or mild like regular pork.

Berkshire pork is prized for juiciness, flavor and tenderness, is pink-hued and heavily marbled.

The Berkshire’s originated from England. They were specially bred for the King of England for his own personal meat supply, because of the excellence in the meat!

Today Berkshire Pork is the most highly sought after pork in the world. Berkshire pork looks and tastes like no other pork. Unlike commodity pork or “The Other White Meat” Berkshire pork is visibly different. It has a darker richer color with an abundance of intramuscular marbling. Its flavor is distinctive with an unparalleled juiciest and tenderness for pork. 


Compared to commercial pork which is dry and bland Berkshires consistently produce sweet, tender, moist, and juicy meat which is highly palatable. There is no comparison to the pork found in your local supermarket to that of a free range, pasture raised, Berkshire.

Berkshire pork is superior and it’s world renowned for it’s exceptional qualities. Chefs and culinary experts are demanding Berkshire pork - Chefs such as Emeril Lagasse, Thomas Keller and Wolfgang Puck are just a few requesting Berkshire pork…

Chef Gordon Ramsay has raised Berkshires and has this to say about them, "The meat I have from my own pigs far surpasses anything I can buy. It has a beautiful consistency, good color and a generous serving of fat which melts away and gives the meat tremendous flavor. The crackling is just amazing and you don't have to put salt on to get it."


Wholesome & Fresh!
You can rest assured that you are getting safe, wholesome meat when you purchase a pig from Sugar Ridge Ranch.

  • We never use growth hormones or growth stimulants

  • Our pigs are never fed antibiotics or treated on a routine basis. Medications are only administered when absolutely essential for the health and well being of the animal. We keep excellent records of any animal that has been treated and all label withdraw times are monitored & followed.

  • If you prefer a pig that has never been treated with antibiotics of any kind, we can offer that option.  Only a very small percentage of our pigs ever receive antibiotics. Most years, we do not have to use any antibiotics on any of the pigs. On the rare instant that we do have to use an antibiotic, it is out of necessity for the welfare of the pig.

  • Our pigs are fed locally grown corn, soybeans and oats. They are also fed fruits and vegetables seasonally and high quality alfalfa hay year round. No animal byproducts or hazardous feed additives are ever used.  


Taste and Flavor

Our pork is the highest quality available. We breed our pigs with an emphasis on natural rate of gain, that is not artificially enhanced. Our hogs are treated with kindness, compassion and care their entire lives here. 

What does this mean? 
Rough treatment, confinement stress, crowding, long shipping times, cruelty and disease are non existent at our farm -- yielding you a better tasting & higher quality cut of meat. We are present when nearly all our piglets are born. During farrowing, our sows are monitored around the clock. You can rest at ease knowing where your food originated and know that the animal had a good life.


Compared to pork sold in stores, our pork is...

  • Never fed growth enhancements, which means the meat is more tender and better flavored.

  • Allowed to finish naturally. This leads to a better, more even marbling, which is why the meat tastes so good!

  • Fresher.  The pig is butchered and goes directly to your freezer.  Doesn't get much fresher than that!

  • Environmentally sustainable.  Our hogs are not trucked across the country or hauled long distances to a packer, thus using less fuel & resources. We also feed only locally grown grains, fruits and veggies.
  • Our pigs receive plenty of exercise, fresh air & sunshine - All contributing to a healthier, better tasting animal. They are allowed to root, wallow, dig & be pigs! (As pigs should be!) We do not confine our pigs and our sows farrow freely in our barn and are never in gestation or farrowing crates.

  • Combination of Grain fed and alfalfa supplementation and Berkshire genetics contribute to superior marbling, tenderness and flavor - compared confinement operation and imported pigs. 
           

Convenience

Purchasing a butcher pig from Sugar Ridge Ranch is easy!

We require a $150 Deposit to hold your pig if you are buying a whole pig or $100 deposit if you are buying a half. You can pay using PayPal on our store front, cash or good check. We will call you & confirm how you would like your cuts made. Your pig will be processed & packaged just the way you ordered. Once we have the hanging weight from the butcher, we will call you & let you know the balance due.  Upon full payment, all you have to do is pick up your meat from the butcher--  Foss Fine Meats is located in Sparta, WI.

How long will it be until my pig is ready?

We have piglets being born twice yearly and our hogs take approximately 6-8 months to finish. Due to an ever changing cycle of pigs, please call us directly to discuss time frames of when we will be butchering. After we have a date set with the butcher for processing we will call and notify you of the date. We will notify you again after we have the hanging weight total from the butcher. We will also let you know at that time when the butcher plans to have your meat ready for pick up. Usually this is usually about 2 weeks after processing. Please note, the processor will not release your meat until your total has been paid to us.


Research proves that Berkshire pork is the tastes the Best!

In fact, there have been numerous of taste tests, studies and general research done on Berkshire pigs. They all say that Berkshire pork is genetically predisposed to producing the finest quality pork due to its shorter muscle fibers and lots of marbling, which contributes to both the flavor and the tenderness. This is the reason why Berkshire pork is so juicy and tender. Another contributing factor to the great flavor of our pork is the lack of stress on the animal. Stress causes the meat to be dry and tough. Our pigs raised are raised in a low-stress environment - meaning that they are usually allowed to roam where they want and they have plenty of shade to keep them cool. 

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