Robert Barton calls his products ‘meat with attitude’
By Diego Flammini
A pair of Saskatchewan producers are bringing unique products to the hog marketplace.
Robert Barton and his wife, Kathleen, own Golden Prairie Wild Boar near Foam Lake, Sask. The couple ran a dairy and sheep farm in England before moving to Western Canada about 10 years ago.
Even though the boars are raised on a farm, they keep their wild tendencies. If the animals feel scared, their natural reaction is to charge at what they perceive as a threat.
“It’s like a torpedo coming at you,” Robert told CBC Sunday. “A 250-pound torpedo. And they do bite.”
Boars are also quite independent. Traditional herding methods don’t work on boars, so it’s best to leave them to their own devices, he said.
“You’ll get a quarter of them (in the pen) but the rest will just circle round and go back” to the pasture,” he told CBC. “So, the best way to do it, just go home and brew a cup of tea. When you come back, they’ll all” be in the pen.
Collecting the boars for processing is also a challenge.
The tusks on a wild boar can be up to four-inches (10cm) long and can penetrate human skin.
So, the Bartons use protective equipment to prevent the animals from causing injury.
“They can’t get at you if you’ve got your shield,” Robert told CBC. “But you’ve got to make sure (one) doesn’t come from behind. You’ve got to be watching all the time.”
Wild boar meat is different than other swine breeds.
The boar’s meat is lean, as the fat is layered under the skin instead of being marbled through the animal.
“Wild boar must be cooked slowly otherwise the meat will dry out and become tough,” the Golden Prairie Wild Boar website says. “The best way is low and slow. Slow cookers are perfect for roasts since it cooks (the meat) nice and slowly.”
Canada’s wild boar exports have declined significantly since 2015.
That year, Canada exported 44,645 kg (98,425 lbs.) of wild boar, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada says. Only 17,602 kg (38,805 lbs.) of Canadian wild boar left the country in 2016.
Those figures dropped further in 2017 with only 14,133 kg (31,157 lbs.) of Canadian wild boar destined for export.
Farms.com has reached out to the Bartons for more information on their wild boar operation.
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