A CLOSER LOOK AT ROWLAND FARM IN OXFORD, CT

At Butcher’s Best, we make a point of sourcing foods locally. It’s important for a variety of reasons. Locally grown food is often higher quality, and when you buy local you’re helping to support your community. We source all-natural pork as well as produce and seafood from farms and suppliers in Newtown, Plainville, Litchfield, and all across the state.

Rowland

One of our local farm suppliers is Rowland Farm in Oxford, CT. It takes a skilled, knowledgeable, and dedicated farmer to remain in business for generations. Rowland Farm has done just that. They started operations in 1900. In the early years, the family raised dairy cattle and poultry, and farmed produce and fruit. For the past 30 years, Charlie Rowland has been focusing on producing high-quality pork. In 2008, Charlie and the family changed over to Heritage Berkshire Hogs. All of his pork products are natural. They are raised without growth hormones or antibiotics, and they’re fed a healthy diet without animal products. And the hogs are raised in a humane manner on their small CT farm.

Heritage Berkshire hogs are known for their exceptional flavor and tenderness. This special breed dates back to the 1600s, and was rumored to be discovered by Sir Oliver Cromwell’s army in Reading England. The soldiers carried the news to the outside world of this unique breed with exceptional richness, texture, marbling, juiciness, tenderness, and overall depth of flavor.

Berkshire pork is sought after around the world and is served at some of the finest restaurants including Spago, The French Laundry, etc. Part of the difference between these pigs and others is their diet. They do not eat animal products — and unlike pigs on large industrial farms, they do not survive solely on corn and soybeans.

It used to be that most farms had a few pigs on their land because they were relatively easy to turn over for profit. When farming became a corporate affair, however, it proved too difficult for small farms to compete. Large, industrial outfits can have 1,000 pigs under one roof. An appealing solution has arisen for the small guy, however. Raising niche brands, like the Berkshire Heritage hog, have proven profitable for small farms. There’s a unique demand for this type of high-quality, natural meat, and more customers are discovering the difference.

At Butcher’s Best, we take the pork directly from the farm and cut it in-house. Our butchering style complements the old-world heritage of the Berkshire hog. We use only tried-and-true meat cutting techniques that result in a better cut for you and your family. And unlike the grocery store, our pork, and nearly all of our meats, are minimally processed. This means the meat is not added to or manipulated in an unnatural way. We sell these meats directly from our butcher shop, but high-quality cuts are also used in the prepared meals in our deli.

We’re very happy that Rowland Farm is still in business after well over 100 years. More and more of us are discovering that natural, local meats and produce provide better value and flavor. This benefits not only our health, but also the health of the local economy.