Well-bred pigs

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The Independent Culture
Traditional breeds: Old breeds taste best. London butcher David Lidgate makes sausages from Gloucester Old Spots. The seven great varieties which saw us through to the Second World War were the Gloucesters, orchard pigs fed on apples and the whey from dairies; Middle White, with beer- barrel chests and snub noses; the smaller Berkshires; British Lop and Large Black, grazing animals; British Saddleback from Wessex, docile forest pigs, and the splendid Tamworth, with a glowing, coppery-red hue. They are not entirely lost, being bred by Anne Petch at her Rare Breeds Survival Trust, Heal Farm, Kings Nympton, Devon (01769 574341).

Modern breeds: After the war we switched to the Norwegian Landrace, later crossed with a Large White, as our standard bacon pig. Now the dominant strain is the American Duroc-Large White cross, which is lean and fast- growing. Research has produced sows with 18 instead of 12 teats, to feed more piglets. Such is progress.

Organic pork: High standards of feed and welfare produce fine pigs. The Soil Association, 36 Colston Street, Bristol, BS1 5BB (01179 290661) sells regional guides at pounds 3 each, inc p&p listing outlets.

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