The best pork producers
by Kirsty Page | 05 April 2011 | 2 commentsTweet
The pig may not be the prettiest of animals but it is certainly one of the most versatile. Find out which pockets of the UK are harbouring some seriously good pork.
The pig is one of the oldest forms of livestock, having been domesticated from the wild boar. Despite being boycotted by some of the world’s most prominent religions, it remains one of the most widely consumed meats.
Alongside the more traditional chops and casserole meat, some cuts of pork have seen a revival in recent years. Pork belly now appears on menus the world over and pigs’ cheeks are making a comeback. Long associated with the Mediterranean strongholds of Spain and Italy, Britain is now making waves with its own production of charcuterie.
And let’s not forget some other familiar porky delights. No summer is complete without a couple of sausages sizzling away on the barbeque and a bacon butty is both a treat and a hangover cure in one. I think it’s fair to say that we Brits like our pork.
So, whether you are after a succulent banger or a classy slice of prosciutto, look no further than some of the following fantastic UK pork producers.
This independent family business started over 40 years ago in Barnston, Essex. Committed to welfare of the highest standards, the pig herd is housed on beds of deep straw and the family work hard to ensure their pigs are happy and comfortable.
Great Garnetts will prepare you any cut you like as well as having a plentiful supply of gammon, bacon and sausages. Their bacon is cured on the farm and smoking is done in their own smokehouse over beech and oak woodchips for delicious added flavour.
2010 saw their pork awarded two stars at The Great Taste Awards having already scooped awards in 2008 and 2009.
As well as selling from the farm and at their own farmer’s markets, you can also buy online.
Jimmy’s Farm is famous for rearing the rare breed Essex Pig in the woodlands and pastures of Suffolk.
Jimmy’s sausages use only the leg and shoulder joints, which effectively means putting your Sunday roast into a sausage! All their bacon is traditionally dry cured and smoked on the farm; varieties include Old Colchester Forest bacon and Suffolk Black bacon, dry cured in black treacle.
Jimmy’s Farm is open seven days a week for visiting and houses a 200 year-old barn that has been converted into a restaurant. All produce is available to buy at the farm along with an abundance of herbs and vegetables from their gardens. If you can’t make it down to Suffolk, Jimmy’s pork is also available to buy online.
Peter and Henri Greig, from Pipers Farm, have been successfully producing pork of the highest quality for 22 years.
Their Saddleback pigs spend the summer in cider orchards, feasting on grass and windfalls. Having worked on a number of farms, including an intensive chicken farm, Peter and Henri know what it means to take care of their animals.
Pipers farm produces a variety of different cuts including tenderloin, spare rib and escalopes. To see the full range, have a look at their website.
If there’s one thing Redhill Farm knows about, it’s pigs. Over the past 12 years, the farm has built up a reputation as specialists of free range pork.
Jane and Terry Tomlinson are based in rural Lincolnshire, on a 180 acre, family owned, freedom food accredited farm. Their Duroc-cross Landrance pigs produce pork with marbling – essential for flavour and succulence. They see the whole process through from rearing the pigs to producing the meat and selling it.
There are no less than eight different types of sausage, all with a meat content of between 80% and 100% as well as all the traditional cuts of pork. Their website lists farmers’ markets where you can buy Redhill Farm meat as well as hosting an online shop. Yum!
How to eat it
There are a million and one different ways to eat pork, so lovefood.com has sourced a handful of delicious recipes to get you started.
If you fancy a taste of the Orient, then why not try Chin-He Huang’s crispy pork. It is quick and easy to make without compromising on taste, ideal for a midweek supper. This RSPCA pea and ham soup is another winner if time is short – a hearty, tasty dish that takes just half an hour from start to finish.
If you don’t feel like cooking, however, don’t despair. Have a read through our guide to the top five pork pies and let someone else do the hard work.