Donna Berry, who co-owns the pub with rooms, which is famous for its food, with her husband and fellow chef Paul, explained: “Buying meat from these more unusual breeds who have had happy lives living near us in the heart of Devon is not only better for the diner, as they produce much tastier meat, but it’s also good for the producer as it makes it viable for them to keep these breeds going.“Our ethos has always been to provide good food, sourced locally wherever possible, while supporting other businesses in the community too. We’re hoping that by giving our customers more information on the provenance of the meat they are eating it will help them understand the importance of animal husbandry a bit better and also promote our wonderful suppliers who do such a fabulous job protecting rare breeds. It’s all about awareness really.
“You can’t get any fresher or tastier produce than stuff reared nearby and also because we know our suppliers well, we know their animals are treated with respect and have happy and good lives.”The Oxford Sandy and Blacks breed has reached crisis point at least twice in the past when numbers dropped so low that extinction was a real possibility.Pig breeders Donald and Mary Shere from Oakridge Farm near Bampton specialise in Oxford Sandy and Blacks and supply us here at The Swan.Donald said: “In 2013, when we moved to Oakridge Farm, the first thing we wanted to do was keep some rare breed pigs. We chose Oxford Sandy and Blacks because they are amongst the oldest British Surviving Rare Breeds and produce superb pork with an amazing flavour of its very own.
“Initially, we sold to family and friends but once they’d tasted it, they wanted more. The word soon got out about this superb pork with an amazing flavour and so we started selling from the farm gate, then supplying pubs, restaurants, local butchers and just recently, ‘The Butchery’ in London.“We’ve developed a breeding programme to meet an ever increasing demand and our Pedigree Breeding Herd, registered with the British Pig Association, continues to expand.“It’s wonderful to think that our little farm is making a big difference in the conservation of this beautiful pig. Thanks to customers, who, like Paul and Donna and the team at The Swan, appreciate quality, we are able to continue in confidence and keep producing ‘proper tasty pork’ for all to enjoy.”.