Sunday, December 25, 2016

All Most Like Time Travelers

After an absence of likely over 300 years Colonial Spanish hogs have returned to Isle of Wight County. A pair of young Ossabaw hogs recently joined the Colonial Spanish horses and colonial era goats and chickens at Mill Swamp Indian Horses outside of Smithfield on Moonlight Road. The hogs will be bred in a fenced in pine forest and a few will be kept in the replica 1650's era farm site constructed in the horse pastures.

These Ossabaws are from a line of heritage breed pigs raised today at Mount Vernon. A handful of small breeders across the nation work to prevent their extinction. Along with the Mulefoot and Choctaw hogs, the Ossabaws are listed by the Breeds Conservancy as one of only three
breeds to be so rare as to be listed as "critically" endangered.

According to Steve Edwards, who directs the non-profit program at Mill Swamp Indian Horses, the Ossabaws are prized for their flavor. "Their meat is dark and often marbled like beef." Although they will be bred and raised for distribution to other preservation breeders their primary focus will be educational.

" The colonial livestock, heritage vegetables, and replica farm are all here to assist in our primary purpose, breeding and preventing the extinction of rare strains of Colonial Spanish horses. It all provides a setting, a picture frame to place the horses that were here in the earliest years in their proper historical context.", Edwards explained.

As spring arrives the facility will be open for family and group visits by appointment.

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