Swine and Cheese

A passion for Pigs and Food

Archive for the ‘Poulet de Bresse’ tag

Free range

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A Poulet de Bresse

A Poulet de Bresse

At Dukeshill we only use British outdoor reared pigs for our products however I recently met a free range producer of livestock. Our ensuing discussion was extremely interesting. The producer was promoting the “free range tastes better” point of view whereas my personal opinion is that I buy free range entirely due to concerns for the animals’ welfare and not the flavour implications. 

The upshot of all this was I got to wondering what the consumers think about free range. If they prefer the idea of free range was it because of the perceived, enhanced flavour or because they have concerns about animal welfare? 

To give an example I think I must have tried every commercially available free range chicken in the UK and to date I’ve yet to find one with any real flavour such as a magnificent Poulet de Bresse from France. Despite all the clever marketing and fancy breeds we’re told about on the packaging the UK never seems to get it’s head round the fact that time = flavour. The supermarkets make all sorts of claims as to why their plump free range bird is worth £X but they are rarely allowed to grow beyond 12 weeks and the breeds used don’t have enough flavour. Anyway my point is that I don’t believe free range in itself contributes to a better flavoured meat.

My next point is one that a pig farmer told me recently. Although he keeps his pigs outdoors for part of their life the commercial breed he uses has been bred to have less fat. Consequently they aren’t suited to being kept outside year round because like us they get cold! Fine for your fattier rare breed pigs. So even with the very best intentions with regards animal welfare you really need to know the specifics to make a judgement.

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Written by Sarah

May 15th, 2009 at 5:35 pm