The time had to come when our pig would eat her last apple and we would say goodbye. After watching her grow from a six-week weaner in May into the 100 kg porker that she became, it was time to complete the pig process.
From nose to tail…
I thought I’d start this post with a quote from Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall, that with a pig you can eat everything but the oink, but as I turned to the chapter on pork in the River Cottage Meat book, I was sadden to read that most of the pork we eat as a nation comes from overcrowded, intensively farmed pigs that consume feed laced with antibiotics and growth promoters allowing the farmers to maximize their output, in quantity but not quality. I remember a farm holiday in Norfolk several years ago and, whilst we were thrilled to have pigs in the barn next door to our holiday house, were horrified with how tightly they were packed in and quite scared by the noises they were making as they squeezed past each other for some space and fought over their food rations.
I am pleased that we helped these pigs have the happiest lives possible and have tried to value every piece of their meat, from nose to tail.
Whilst our pig project has been an exciting adventure, fortunately, we are not the only ones on this journey. Thomasina Miers, along with others, is championing The Pig Idea which is campaigning for a change in the law regarding feeding unwanted food to pigs. As recent news headlines show that British families are throwing away on average 6 meals a week, which is such a waste of food, money and resources, surely we can redeem this back into the food chain?
We had to smile last week as we watched River Cottage To The Core, as it coincided with the exact same activities that we have been doing recently, not in a country farm but from our London home. Whilst our cider was made with friends back in September, this week (like Pam the Jam) we made rosehip syrup with hips foraged from the towpath of the Grand Union Canal and have been busy making sausages, salamis, pate, etc. with our pig just received back from slaughter. Finally, to top it all, these porky pleasures all took place during British Sausage Week!
This year we have planned courses right through the year giving everyone the opportunity for ‘A little bit of country life in London’. Our next course is Stir Up Sunday on 24th November; bring a friend or family member to enjoy some festive fun whilst you make your own Christmas pudding! There will be various fruits and spirits to personalise your pudding and if you have started to think of gift ideas we have planned a whole year’s worth of courses which can be seen here and can send you gift cards confirming the details.
Book of the Blog Post:
Curing & Smoking: River Cottage Handbook No.13
By Steven Lamb
This book would have been great this week, but unfortunately, it’s not available just yet. No worries, you can pre-order it here and if it’s anything as good as the other 12 handbooks from River Cottage, we know it will be a winner. We have most of them already and can confirm that they are just the right size for popping in a stocking!
This book is available with many of our other favourites books from the Hen Corner Shop!
- We are talking to a London school about their hens and some lessons on chickens and bees
- Our Christmas ham and salamis are curing in the shed
- We’ve made some beautiful espresso cup candles with our beeswax, ready to sell at the St Faith’s Christmas Fair
Jobs for next week:
- Sort through the drinks cabinet for the Christmas pudding tipple
- Start to design this year’s Christmas card with our wonderful Andy
- Pickle the onions that we lifted from the kitchen garden
Have a good week yourself…
Join us on the Journey!