Pigs

Our freerange, woodland-reared pigs include native breed British Saddlebacks, and Oxford Sandy and Blacks, as well as the very rare and curly-coated Mangalitsa.Whilst there are something like half a million commercial (“pink”) breeding pigs in the UK, there are little more than 6,000 registered, “rare-breed” sows. They need our support.

” . . . at the last count, there were about 500 registered British Saddleback sows, and only about 50 Mangalitsa registered breeding sows . . . “

All of our breeding sows are registered pedigree stock. You can help us to maintain these rare breeds by buying our piglets, and – when we have some – also buying thedelicious meat theyproduce at maturity. They carry more fat than the more modern, commercial pigs, but we find the the meat is generally much tastier.

Oxford Sandy & Blacks are always busy, especially when eating apples

Oxford Sandy & Blacks are always busy, especially when eating apples

Not only does the fat help to retain the flavour, but it prevents the meat from drying out when roasted for several hours, as we do here in the farm kitchen. We give our pigs a traditional feed which they top up with whatever they can find rooting in the woods, plus a little hay in winter.

If you look through the photographs, you may spot one or two pictures of our pet pigs – Busta, Mango, Biscuit and Crackott. Busta was supposed to be a micro pig, but as you may discover yourselves, pigs can often get their DNA from distant relatives, so it’s not unusual for these litte fellas to outgrow their mums and dads, especialy if you tend to over-feed them as we are sometimes guilty of doing. It seems a long time ago now that both Busta was living in the kitchen – yes, you read that right! – playing as if he was a dog.

” . . . the BBC chose our farm to feature in the “Pork episode” of their Great British Food Revival series, presented by celebrity chef Clarissa Dickson-Wright . . .”

The BBC chose our farm, along with several others nearby, to feature in the “Pork episode” of their Great British Food Revival series, presented by celebrity chef Clarissa Dickson-Wright. Clarissa did a fantastic job of explaining why we should eat rare breed pork.

Clarissa showed a few tasty pork recipes too, so take a look at the video by clicking here onYou Tube. The Large Blacks and British Saddlebacks in the programme were filmed at Chater Valley farm. What they didnt tell you on the programme was that we all ate our Mangalitsa pork sausages mid-filming!

Pigs are delightful animals to keep. Contrary to their public image, they are not dirty animals. They never poop or pee anywhere near where they feed or sleep, which is unlike many other animals. They are about as smart as dogs and you can train them to do similar things. Churchill once said of them – “Cats look down on you, dogs look up to you, but a pig looks you straight in the eye”.

Lesley with Manga

Lesley with Manga

It’s such a shame that the advent of refrigerators and freezers, meant there was no longer the need to keep the old native breed pigs with their heavier fat set to prevent the meat from going putrid when stored.

The trouble is, as we ‘lost the fat’ we lost the taste of true pork along with it. It’s not realistic to imagine small farms like ours feeding the nation with pork, but we can supply friends, family and local eateries with pork to die for, on the rare occasion we have it. We also make our own sausages in the Clean Room on the farm. As we said, we do not have much meat or sausages for sale as we are principally pedigree breeders, but please give us a call to see when next we will have some available.

Next time you’re in the butcher, ask him if he can get you some rare breed pork. Once tasted, you’ll never go back.