Serious About Food? - Provenance is Key
We're serious about our food products. We're also honest. So much so that we visit the pig farm where our raw pork is born and bred. The passion goes further, we have trees in France where we get our own Bay leaves from, Fennel seeds are harvested from our garden and are significantly more pungent and oily than most of the commercially available seeds. Our salt is an organic cure containing 0.25% Sodium Nitrite. In our secret recipes, we use the freshest, tastiest herbs and spices we can get, like proper Paprika for example. This makes a massive difference and when combined with taking your time the resulting high quality is hard to beat. However, it comes at a price though. It's not rocket science and you physically can't make a genuinely fantastic product using cheaply sourced materials.
Currently our pork comes from a local, well managed, commercial herd. The pigs are housed in well-maintained farm buildings which are environmentally controlled. The farm produces 8500 pigs per year from 300 Landrace breeding sows. The boars are Hampshires and way smaller than the sows.
The farmer was pig farmer of the year in 2013 and still has a huge sense of pride and genuine care and sustainability at its heart. The accolade was awarded on several key factors:
Mainly welfare of the animals above a minimum SSPCA standard. This is also important for Piggery-Smokery and one we too take seriously. We'd not want to perpetuate misery for any animal for the sake of producing our bacons, of that we are certain and committed. However, there has to be an obvious compromise on something such as Epic Bacon that is also affordable. For us we have this compromise which is healthy, well cared for pigs relinquishing a premium, affordable pork for a reasonable per kg price.
The farm is also required to have a sustainability in food production which, for these guys, involves producing Barley, Wheat and Oil seed rape on the surrounding acreage to feed the pigs whilst using the pig waste (or slurry) to manure these feed crops. Some fertilisers and pesticides are also brought in to manage the crop production. It's not certified organic.
The farm also has to have a business kudos and longevity whilst maintaining a profitability and prove that its business model is a viable growing asset. They use significant amount of technology to assist in this and in the pork production itself. As a result this is a reasonably sized commercial grade concern. P-S can obviously use, and do use, organic free range animals on occasion but for us, due to the costs, it is, also only by request. This is the reality of it all. Organic, free range, rare breed is typically 3 times the price of what we're paying for our current supplies. If you want this let us know.
The pigs are ready for slaughter locally, in Inverurie, at about 100kg which is around 8 months growth.
I am generally happy with what I saw especially as I'm not a farmer. The pigs I observed were lively, playful animals and really inquisitive. They were clean and certainly looked healthy.
It's important for me to get an understanding of where we get our food from and qualify that against my preparedness to physically put it in my mouth, eat it and enjoy it. As an animal, pigs are fantastic creatures, of that there is no doubt, and they deserve their rightful, respectful, place on this earth alongside those who like to eat them.
Thank you pigs.