High Life Decoded: Heritage-Breed Pork

Are designer pigs worth the money? Brady Lowe of Cochon 555 breaks down the difference between dry, bland chops and fancy swine to help you decide.


Photo courtesy Cochon 555

For most of my life, I could not understand the hype over pork. But thanks to the recent renaissance of heritage-breed farming, the "other white meat” has made a comeback. Menus at top restaurants list pigs that sound like old English aristocrats, and the furry face of Mangalitsa has enchanted editors at nearly every major food magazine, gaining a reputation as the "it" pig of the moment. But when most people go to the deli and find pork priced at $24 a pound, they start wondering whether it’s really worth the extra money.

For the most part, what “heritage-breed” means exactly is still unclear. However, if you put the stiff mauve-colored pork chops from the supermarket meat aisle alongside the rich, marbled ones from Gloucestershire Old Spots, anyone can see a difference. Today, we leave it to the head honcho of heritage-breed swine to debunk all the pork misinformation out there.




Brady Lowe. Founder of Cochon 555, an Atlanta-based food festival founded to created to promote heritage-breed pork, butchering, and sustainable farming. At each event—now a moveable feast phenomenon that travels from Seattle to New York City and plenty of cities in between over the course of a year—chefs break down whole pigs to prepare their nose-to-tail menus.

“It’s all about the search,” says Lowe. “Heritage-breed pork is still so niche; there’s nothing convenient about finding it. My job is to get consumers to understand what heritage breed pork is and why it’s important.”

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