What makes rare breed British lop so tasty?
The slow, outdoor rearing process, a strong heritage, traceability and an excellent ratio of muscle to fat are all major factors in guaranteeing British Lop pork as a premium, tasty product.
Food should be traceable all the way back to its parents and beyond. British Lop pork is traceable back into the 1920’s through herd book registrations. Only pork produced from animals where both parents are in the Herd book should be called British Lop.
The breeding must really be the starting point - bred over time in a relatively small geographic area would have allowed taste and quality- both as pork and as a bacon pig to be taken quickly into account in selecting and moving breeding stock between herds. Over time that is likely to have developed a particular product that is now appreciated for its succulence and quality taste.
Herd size and welfare standards
The next factor that is likely to be of particular significance is that, when compared to commercial type pig products, pure bred British Lops are kept in small herds with high welfare standards. This allows focus to be maintained on the end product. Producers at this scale are very likely to be committed to the quality of the pork bacon and sausages that they produce as opposed to just seeking high quantity of pork.
It’s likely to cost a little more to produce a high quality product, so the next factor that may well play its part in the taste factor is that extra care given by you, the consumer, to that extra special piece of pork, gammon or bacon that you have sought out from a specialist supplier, be it farmer or butcher. That is perhaps the British Lop taste factor and why demand is growing.
Key benefits of buying rare breed British Lop:
- Unlike supermarket pork, rare breed pigs are bred for taste rather than leanness.
- Outdoor, slow reared British Lop pigs means a good balance of intramuscular fat which gives a moist and creamy textured pork.
- Slow – growing means a tastier product.
- Outdoor, slow reared British Lop pigs are happy pigs! British Lops are reared outside, free range. Piglets often stay with their mothers until they naturally wean.
- British Lop pigs are bred by a few select breeders who prioritise the purity of the breed and its traceability.
- In buying British Lop pork, you are helping to create demand for an endangered species, which in turn will encourage breeders to meet demand and move this pig from the endangered species list*
Why is the Lop Pig an ideal butcher’s carcass?
The long, deep back, hourglass figure, good hams and long loins give an ideal carcass for butchers, while the excellent fat to muscle ratio assures a tasty product that is moist in texture. A winner all round!
- British Lops have an ‘hourglass’ figure giving them good hams and long loins that are not too thick.
- An excellent ratio of fat to muscle and a balance of intra-muscular fat guarantees taste and ‘creamy’ texture.
- The carcass does not run to too much fat as some rare breeds can.
- The British Lop carcass gives a good yield.
Key benefits for butchers
- The British Lop is a white pig – it does not have black hairs and so looks appetising in the butchery counter and on the plate, unlike black-haired rare-breeds.
- Outdoor, slow reared British Lop pigs have a better balance of intramuscular fat that gives moisture and creaminess to the pork, giving quality assurance in terms of premium taste and texture.
- In championing this breed, you are creating a demand which will in turn encourage breeders to increase their stocks, conserving a rare breed which is now category 2 on the RSBT Endangered Species List.
- You are supporting the small – scale local breeders, who finish a small number of excellent quality pigs to your specification.
- You have a key marketing tool, in that you are not just selling pork but you are hanging your hat on a particular breed.
Why is the Lop ideal to breed?
The Lop has a great deal going for it. It is generally docile and easy to manage and is hardy enough for outdoor systems. It grows readily and will finish with a well-muscled, lean carcass at pork or bacon weights. The dams are prolific and make good milky mothers.
So, whether for larger production systems or for smallholders looking for an easily managed breed to produce good quality meat for the growing niche market, the Lop will do the job and do it better than most. It is, indeed, the breed for every need.
By choosing to keep pedigree British Lops, you will be helping to conserve one of the rarest British breeds.
Key benefits for breeders
- Being a white pig, it does not suffer from the commercial bias against coloured pigs
- The British Lop is docile and easily managed
- The Lop is an excellent mother pig
- Suitable for both small-scale and extensive commercial systems
- The pork and bacon from a well-finished Lop is a high quality product that attracts niche market opportunities
- Unlike some rare breeds, the Lop does not tend to run to excessive fat if poorly managed