The arrival of the latest weaners in our orchard - two Large Black gilts and a boar - gives me the chance to have a cute pig picture on the blog, celebrate rare breeds, and talk about meadow management. The Large Black is a fabulous pig; good eating, well behaved, hardy, and doesn't root like a maniac. Unsurprisingly it was once a common breed, successfully exported all over the world - so what happened ? Apparently, and like many rare breeds, it was a victim of consumer fashion; from the 60s the meat trade stopped buying coloured pigs. Ridiculous. We're lucky enough to be half an hour away from Martin Snell, one of the top breeders in the country, which makes them even more of a no-brainer. We're not proper pig people; all we do is buy the weaners in and fatten them up over the next 3 months. They're incredibly easy. Do visit the breeders' association website
for more information. The pigs also do us a favour by turning the ground over and opening the sward up, either for new seeding or to give this year's annuals' seeds a better chance next spring. These need disturbance and good contact with open soil.