It’s nearly that time again…

Where on earth has this summer gone? Before we even really noticed it the latest intake went from pint-size to portly, and so our thoughts now turn to the end-point of the process… a trip in the trusty charabanger to our friends in Ashburton.

This said, we still have a little time to go – the pigs are booked-in to the abattoir mid-September, and so there are plenty of fresh veggies from the garden and a whole load of post-repastal belly rubs yet to come for them; however, we do need to get ourselves a little more organised and work out where our next batch of super-exclusive, highly sought-after pork boxes will be heading.

We’ll be despatching these guys a little earlier than usual on the advice of our butchery chums Cox & Laflin – a minor tweak which should further improve the overall fat to meat balance. Sadly though, this does mean that supplies of the finished product will be even more limited than usual so, if you’re interested in securing yourself a box full of porky loveliness, please let us know as soon as possible.

The sums are still being scribbled on the back of an old envelope but the recent (almost inevitable) rises in organic feed costs mean that we’re likely to be charging £10 a kilo this time around – a wee bit more than last year’s boxes but still considerably less than even the most uninspiring samples of supermarket-sourced free-range, organic pork.

Boxes range in capacity from 5kg to 20kg and are packed-full of freshly butchered chops, diced meat, ribs, joints and sausages. Orders are taken on a strictly first-come-first-served basis, so if you’d like to book your free local or UK-wide cool-packed 10am next day delivery then let us know via email at hello@greedypigspantry.co.uk. We look forward to hearing from you!

What we did at the weekend…

Like there aren’t already enough things to swallow-up any available time that we might occasionally get, last weekend, we decided to accept a rather gracious invitation from Dartmoor National Park Authority to trundle over the moor into sunny Princetown, there to peddle our wares before unsuspecting muggles at the DNPA’s 2019 Summer Fair.

The fickle Dartmoor weather gods smiled upon us and the sun blazed down for a large part of the day which, in turn, brought out a pleasingly generous number of hungry fair-goers – the vast majority of whom seemed happy enough to dive into our tester pots with gusto.

Having no real clue as to how successful this one might be for us – and, if we’re being honest, having been primarily interested in getting some quality time with DNPA’s retail team rather than looking to clean-up at market – we were more than happy with the amount of stock that didn’t make its way back into the trusty Hilux at the end of the day.

Being the only jam-monger amongst a room full of rather talented painters, printers, photographers & sculptors was hardly the worst thing that could have happened, and so the day ended-up being both rewarding and highly enjoyable – especially as the super-attentive DNPA volunteers seemed hell-bent on making a certain greedy pig even more well-upholstered than he already is, constantly proffering tea, coffee, custard creams and even a cheeky drop of Dartmoor Brewery’s ‘Jail Ale’. Heaven!

Moreover, it turned-out that there was a wee bit of spare time to engage in chit-chat with the DNPA retail officer. Further, potentially quite exciting news to follow…

Fancy buying some jammy gems?

Right now we’re knee-deep in labels, lids, jars and maslin pans, furiously hulling strawberries and blanching runner beans to fully replenish stocks in time for Dartmoor National Park Authority’s summer fair.

We’re delighted to have been invited along to DNPA’s annual celebration of all things Dartmoorish and we’re really looking forward to introducing an unsuspecting public to our jammy gems & fruity fripperies.

So, if you plan to wander around the moors on Saturday 27th July desperately searching for home-made preserves, then you’re likely to be in luck. Likewise, if you suddenly feel the need to reserve yourself a box of mouth-wateringly scrummy home-reared, organically-fed Tamworth pork, then get yourself over to Princetown. We’ll see you there!

Coming along nicely…

As with all piglets, the process of weaning from sow’s milk was a bit of a body-blow for these beauties, which left them a little ‘off-colour’ when they first arrived. Luckily though, a short spell of fasting and hiding in the straw at the back of the ark, rapidly followed by a day or two chomping on the rich Dartmoor soil of their paddock, completely sorted out their upset gut flora and, from there on in, it was pretty much plain sailing. Once again we are enormously impressed with the quality and condition of the pigs we’ve received from our chums at Lower Knowle Farm.

It never ceases to amaze just how quickly a healthy, happy pig will grow. In seemingly no time at all our latest batch has gone from tiddler to titan, and so, even after only a month of residence at Greedy Pig’s HQ, our Tamworths are already starting to look like really well-configured porkers.

It’s all going well and so, maybe a little ironically, thoughts turn to the end of the cycle, which will see this gang on a one-way trip in the trusty charabanger, which was recently fettled at great expense with shiny new wheels and tyres.

To some, it might seem a little macabre to be looking at a piglet and seeing a box of yummy pork joints and sausages; however, that’s ultimately why we have pigs at the bottom of the garden and so one can’t help but mentally hit the fast forward button to a point where we’re shipping our pork boxes.

We’re incredibly proud of the end-product of our work and equally in the way in which our pigs play out their brief spell with us before shuffling-off this mortal coil. With this in mind, it hopefully makes some sense to the more dubious of readers that we’re just as keen to see the end of the process as the start – with happy customers taking delivery of wholesome, delicious, high welfare (and great value for money) home-grown pork.

Talking of value, it’ll come as a massive surprise to precisely nobody that the price of organic feed has risen over the last twelve months, along with that of bedding straw, herbal worming solutions, organic louse powder and pretty much everything else connected with the successful rearing of a happy, healthy pig.

With this in mind, we’re reluctantly having to increase our prices in 2019, although we’re still more than confident that Greedy Pig’s Pantry pork continues to compare more than favourably with any supermarket price for high welfare, free-range pork – let alone pork that has been organically fed.

Our prices are likely to range between £7.50 and £10.00 per kilo for pork boxes that will next ship in mid-September. If you’re interested in reserving a box then do drop us a line [here] and we’ll add you to our mailing list.

A strange sense of deja vu…

And the summer season finally kicks-off in earnest as our latest batch of Tamworth weaners arrive at Greedy Pig HQ.

A little later than usual this year; however, that’s no bad thing, as it will hopefully mean that we’ll avoid having to break the ice off drinkers in the morning and the poor little mites won’t be ploughing through eight inches of snow to to get to their grub, as they were made to do last year. It also means that the paddock has been given a little more time to recover, and the wild meadow mix which we sowed last autumn has had a chance to do it’s thing, offering our new arrivals a host of buttercups, clovers and fescues to chomp away at.

Whilst a little quiet at first – still scouring a little from the recent weaning process and clearly finding the whole ordeal of leaving home for pastures new somewhat overwhelming – this gang are nonetheless settling in well and gradually getting to grips with their new environment. This is probably being helped by the mooing and lowing coming from the field next door, where a herd of cows and their recently arrived calves have set up camp and are offering a rather soothingly pastoral soundscape to the place.

A couple of days to get their bearings, adapt to their new diet and generally get their mojo back and they’ll be fine.

Guilty as charged…

Yes, you’re right – we’ve been a little idle when it comes to our recent efforts at website administration. What can I tell you? It’s wintertime and greedy pigs are clearly the sort of creatures that hanker after a spot of hibernation.

Anyhoo, the unseasonably warm February weather has brought us snuffling & grunting from the back of the ark, and so planning for the months ahead is once again well under way. Veggie beds are being tilled, seeds & sets are being planted, troughs & drinkers are being scrubbed and electric fences are being repaired. We’re heading back into production!

The winter lull hasn’t been entirely fruitless though – we’ve already confirmed a few food fairs for later in the year and right now we’re in the middle of negotiations with a second retail outlet for our jams and pickles, so the general direction of travel is still positive. All painfully slow, as always, and we’re still very much at the ‘baby steps’ end of the entrepeneurial spectrum; however, each sale that we make and every new conversation with a potential stockist that we have is adding to our business momentum, all of which is hugely exciting.

And the sun’s shining, which is a bonus…

Festive cheer and flogging a jam mountain

After a whole pile of recent evenings spent slaving over a hot maslin pan, this weekend saw us fully prepped for the 2018 Festive Fair at Yarner House.

Typically, the second we even thought about packing-up the truck, the heavens opened and stayed that way for pretty much all of the following forty-eight hours. So very, very standard. Still, despite the ever-fickle nature of the Dartmoor weather gods, the great and the good of the region were not to be put-off by a spot of inclement weather, and so we were treated to an action-packed weekend of purveying preserves, touting tinctures and cashing-in on confections.

This is the second year that we’ve sold our produce at the Yarner Festive Fair and it has to be said that the experience thus far has been entirely positive, with folks seemingly happy to scoff our samples and then grab a jar or two as a result. By the time we hung up our ‘closed’ sign yesterday, we had sold out of several of our more popular jams & pickles and were cleared-out of even the merest whiff of our hand-made fudges and pomegranate vokda snifters. Plus, we had interest from a whole load of potential new pork-box customers. All in all, a great result!

Next stop? A rapid pre-yule replenishment order to fulfil for our chums over at Ullacombe Farm Shop and Barn Café where they’re apparently down to their last couple of jars – no rest for the wicked but we’re loving it!

Have a great Christmas break, folks – here’s to an equally productive 2019.

Form an orderly queue for autographs…

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Exciting times, as Andy chats with the editor of Grow Exeter magazine and is featured in its November 2018 edition.

It’s a weird old business, rambling-on to a complete stranger about your burgeoning business aspirations. Right now, Greedy Pig’s Pantry is still very much in ‘start-up’ mode and so talking in terms of how the business is constructed and how far we’ve come thus far is all a little strange; however, it does offer a really handy milestone from which one can look back and realise how much we’ve achieved in a relatively short space of time, which can only be a good thing.

Clearly, there’s a hell of a long way to go but we’re still happily obsessed with the idea of making a modest living from selling our wholesome, home-made, hearty tucker and so the discovery that other folks might be passingly interesting in our little venture is enormously encouraging.

Hopefully, this first foray into the world of foody journalism will generate a few leads for us, so we’re looking forward to watching the odd email from potential new customers rattle-down into our inbox in the not-too-distant future. In the meantime, it’s all about jam and pickle making, bottling and labelling, in readiness for our upcoming appearance at this year’s Yarner Festive Fair. Maybe see you there?

A debut in the grown-up world of retail

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As we’ve already discussed, from tiny acorns mighty oaks doth grow, and in the grub market finding your first retail outlet is an essential part of this arboreal odyssey.

Everyone needs to forge partnerships – Louis Noilly had Claudius Prat, Thomas Huntley had George Palmer, Anne Harvey had James Nichols and, in our case, our partner in crime is the rather splendid Ullacombe Farm Shop & Barn Café where, from this week, you’ll be able to bag yourself a sample of our jammy gems and fruity fripperies.

We’re starting off with a salvo of sweet-toothed specials that includes our popular strawberry preserve (as used by our chums at B&B to the stars Yarner House and mentioned in despatches by none other than the Sunday Telegraph), a rather luscious lemon curd, a rich, sticky pear conserve and our new but nevertheless well received cheeky chilli jelly.

For a limited time we’re tempting potential new devotees to the Greedy Pig’s Pantry brand with some keen pricing, so if you’re in the area then get down there and stock-up today! For those of you in more far-flung corners of the county/country/globe we’re still working on the website shop, so bear with us – we’re getting there. Albeit slowly!

All good things…

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Much though we love our pigs whilst they’re with us, at the end of the day, we know that there’s only one reason we got into pig-rearing, and that’s to feed ourselves.

With this in mind, Monday saw the latest batch of Tamworths safely loaded on to the charabanger and off to the abattoir. When last seen, all three were happily munching on chopped apples with their tails as curled as a big box of curly things, which can only mean that they were entirely happy and unaware of their impending fate, a statement that many pig producers might struggle to say of their stock.

It’s an emotive issue, and I completely understand those that hold differing views to ours; however, in our opinion, as committed carnivores, the best thing we can do is take direct responsibility for the meat that we consume and ensure that the animals from which it comes lead the most enjoyable of lives before dying with dignity. It’s a pretty straightforward contract between pig and diner – treat the animal with respect and care for it’s wellbeing at all times – and if you can’t do that yourself then support those that do, rather than simply chucking an anonymous lump of clingfilm-shrouded Play-Doh into your supermarket trolley without a second thought.

Anyhoo, climbing down from the soap-box and returning to the subject of porky loveliness, this is precisely what now fills the chest freezer in the pantry. We’ve been fortunate enough to attract a number of much-welcomed meat sales this time around, whilst still retaining well over 90 kilos of pork for ourselves – which means that, even by our gluttonous standards, there’s a heartily-fed winter to come. From roasting joints to chops and loin steaks to mince (by way of the ubiquitous banger) we’ve processed as much of our pigs as possible, which seems only sensible. Waste not want not and all that.

Actually, that’s a useful  reminder. Enough of this waffling – there are livers in the fridge that need turning into pâté. No rest for the wicked!