Some good words about fat (or lard)…

On Friday we picked up some of the Berkshire Pig pork from the Old Weston Garden Farm small-holding, located only a few miles away from our village. We’d seen the pigs (they also have some Gloucester Old Spots which I’m writing more about now) the weekend before, trudging through the glutinous mud bath that was the current state of their fields and placed an order then, as they’d told us that the next male was off to the the local butcher (Hellett & Sons) at Kimbolton to be slaughtered during the coming week.

A comparatively new venture, run by Sylvia and John (and helped by a couple of part-time local assistants), they have a few acres on which they’re producing vegetables, chickens (and great multi-coloured eggs), turkeys for Christmas and, of course a little pork. This isn’t a big business, is incredibly hard work — they live in a caravan, are pretty much off-grid, having only solar panels for a small amount of electricity — and is one that we love to encourage and continue to buy from.

Vegetable sales start again later in the year (after the waters soak away and they can actually be seen and harvested!) from their millimetre-precisely laid out Kitchen Garden, designed in the French ‘Pottager’ style, mixing vegetables, flowers, fruit and herbs and they’re also halfway through building a metal barn from which they’ll be able to sell & to cook and prepare their food products inc. a great runner bean chutney.

Val is drawing the pigs & the chickens soon, so keep an eye on Pencil and Leaf.

Like Brian and Sylvia at Rectory Reserve, OWGF rightly make much of the healthy nature of the fat made from their pigs. Their own leaflet says it all:

owgf&fat

Pigs in The Smoke

We didn’t get a chance yesterday to grab one (or more) of their truly excellent hot-dogs from Herman Ze German’s place in Old Compton Street but this omission will be remedied very soon…

hermanzegerman

Popped quickly into the Wellcome Institute gallery (dodging around the building works) to see the “Foreign Bodies, Common Ground” exhibition.

Some interesting work, including this necklace piece on fossil history by Katie Paterson — there are some more great linked images by Val in her blog at Pencil and Leaf.

katiepatersonnecklace

And some very red pig imagery by Lêna Bùi from Ho Chi Minh City in her pieces on how cultural and sociopolitical backgrounds affect our own perceptions.

London. Just the best.

Buy & eat them today – way down West

An interesting piece on BBC Radio 4’s “On Your Farm” this morning; talking about The British Lop pig that I wrote about before, being bred at Trevaskis Farm in Cornwall, farmed by the Eustice family (in a strange quick of fate, one of whom happens to be a government minister — for food). A timely reminder of just quite how endangered this great pork species still remains. The best way to help? Buy and eat some of them. Today!

greatlophuntinghall

You can hear this piece here.

And finally, a quote from the Eustice family encapsulates just why these species should be encouraged (and eaten):

The rare breed British Lop Pigs reared at Trevaskis Farm today, are of the same bloodlines as those reared by the Eustice family since the late 1890s. The ‘Actress’ bloodline has only 29 registered breeding sows in the country, 10 of which are here at Trevaskis!

Rare breeds, such as the British Lop, take longer to grow to killing weight than, for example, the White, Landrace or Welsh breeds that are bred for supermarket supply. In rearing our own pigs in this way, we have avoided the pressures of needing a fast – growing breed and can be sure that the meat we produce is tastier, has been reared at home in a free –range environment and is killed locally.

We cure all our own bacon, gammons and hams as well as making our own delicious sausages and hogs pudding.

More Essex goodness (or the The Croshaw throwback)

It’s the first day of 2014. I’m 4 hours into the Johnnie Mountain recipe for Slow Cooked Belly Pork so, whilst waiting for this to come to fruition, I’ve ordered the “The Pig: A British History by Julian Wiseman”, to check up on the history of the Essex Saddleback and others as well as to read the famous “Dissertation upon Roast Pig” by Charles Lamb.

The pig; a British history

The pig; a British history

Cooking the pig the Mountain way

Thanks to my son, who bought me this for Christmas, we’re now working our way through the great recipes from Johnnie Mountain’s “Pig: Cooking With A Passion For Pork”.

Mountain's pig book

Mountain’s pig book

Photographs and success (or failure) stories to follow…

You can follow the man on Twitter as @baconbadwalt