Poaka’s Free Range Pig Farm is based at Aylesbury, just west of Christchurch in Canterbury, New Zealand. We operate a moderate sized grazing operation, supplemented by 25 acres of sweet Chestnut Orchard, from where Poaka sources all its Tamworth, Berkshire and wessex saddleback free range pork.
In this stunning setting, our pigs are now accompanied by their traditional “terroir” friends: pheasants, quail, hares, pukeko and rabbits. Wine has popularised the word “terroir”, or “place”. And as with all the best things, “place” matters. Our place is, well…our place.
We have literally thousands of trees on the farm so our pigs benefit from summer shade, and as year round, outdoor grazers, an extensive network shelterbelts mean the worst of the winter winds are kept at bay.
At Poaka we work hard to operate using sustainable methods. Our free range pig farm is not certified organic, but we are working towards this and would love to be a fully certified organic pork producer in the future.
Our pigs are farmed as sustainability as possible, and we’ve developed our herd based on the Tamworth, Berkshire and Wessex saddleback heritage breed pigs because they survive and grow well raised completely outdoors with pasture based foraging making up a large part of their diet. Their native ability to grow and put on condition through foraging while living outdoors makes them ideal for finishing in our Chestnut Orchard during the autumn cycle. Part of the Poaka secret to our mouth watering products made with Poaka free range pork! Our main herd of pigs is the Tamworth breed of which it is reported that there are only 40 breeding sows in New Zealand, so these are a very rare breed indeed. However we are doing our part in keeping this amazing breed alive and we currently have 15 Tamworth sows and 2 stunning Tamworth boars.
While our heritage breed pigs are excellent foragers, we do supplement their forage diet with our own special blend of pig feed that we mill and mix on our farm with our own equipment. This allows us to know exactly what we are feeding our free range pigs and we can also specifically formulate our pig feed to our own recipes. We source all our feed ingredients locally and the bulk actually comes from our crop farming next door neighbour, so a very low carbon footprint. As with everything else we do, this adds to the unique Poaka flavour.
The result of our free range farming program is a pork with an very different texture and flavour: perfect for turning into some of the world’s best salumi / charcuterie products – Finocchiona, Genoa, and Chorizo Salami’s, Coppa, Lomo, Prosciutto, Culatello dry cured meats, dry cured bacon and sausages. Poaka delivers what you find in some of the best international products, amazing mouth feel and flavour – Melt in your Mouth Moments that you will remember!
FARMING – FROM THE GROUND UP
Exceptional flavour takes time – time in the pasture, time curing and time in the maturing chamber. To make the world’s best salumi / charcuterie, you have to start with the best raw materials, and the only way to get that has been to set up our own free range farming supply chain from scratch. Poaka raises only heritage pigs focusing on Tamworth, Berkshire and Wessex saddleback breeds. These pig genetics were traditionally developed for flavour, natural robustness, minimal intervention, and their ability to thrive while foraging on outdoor pasture.
Our stock are selected for health and vigour and can thrive on our pasture based system. We continue to experiment with different pasture mixes, “…you are what you eat…” and that is no different for our free range Tamworth’s, Berkshires and Wessex saddleback pigs.
Part of our challenge, our pleasure, and our self-imposed limit to our growth is that we demand that all Poaka product comes from our own pasture grown, sustainably and ethically managed, seasonally nut finished free range pig herd, bred and raised by us. Our difference results from both Nature (our choice to use low yielding, high flavour heritage pork genetics) and Nurture (our pasture based, nut finished product) and that’s really hard to do. Now we’re bringing you the fruits of a long journey. It was once said “…Good things take time…”, and that is very true with Poaka and our range of true artisan salami, dry cured pork, dry cured bacon and sausage products.