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.

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!

Time to order your pork boxes!

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It’s that time of year again! We’re about a month away from sending our latest batch of Tamworths off to slaughter and so it’s high time we started taking your orders for our delicious high-welfare pork-boxes.

This year, as well as selling our produce in the 20kg capacity boxes that have proved to be so popular in the past, we’ll also be looking at providing shipments in smaller batches, starting at 6kg for £45.00 plus shipping. All shipments will contain a selection of freshly butchered shoulder & leg joints, chops, belly blocks, hocks, ribs, diced meat & sausages, all of which are contained in temperature neutral polystyrene crates with chiller blocks.

Talking of shipping, we’re happy to hand-deliver locally or, if you’re a little further away, we’ll once again be using our cool-box packaging on a guaranteed pre-10am next day service from Parcelforce – a system which worked exceptionally well for us last year.

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We’re lucky enough work with local artisanal butchers Cox & Laflin to create a selection of roasting joints, chops, sausages, steaks & diced pork that we believe to be pretty much unbeatable.

The abattoir we use is also local, as well as being Soil Association approved. We take advantage of the fact that Gages Farm in Ashburton is less than ten miles from home and specialises in small batch throughput, to ensure that our pigs are treated with the utmost respect, ending their journey with dignity and empathy. Our stock is cared for with a high standard of husbandry and this extends equally to the their treatment at the end-of-life.

You can call or email us anytime to talk about your meatbox requirements; however, as an illustration of the range that we offer, here are some ideas of the packages available, their weights, approximate contents and our prices:

6kg (joints, sausages, chops) = £45.00

10kg (joints, sausages, chops, diced pork) = £67.50

15kg (joints, sausages, chops, diced pork) = £90.00

20kg (joints, prime tenderloin, belly blocks, hocks, sausages, chops, diced pork) = £105.00.

Shipping is overnight on a guaranteed pre-10am next day delivery. Shipment costs are additional to the prices shown above and can be Pantry HQ will be hand-delivered at no additional cost.

Reserve your box today, or drop us a line to talk about your requirements. You can chat with us on (01364) 661602 or drop us a line at hello@greedypigspantry.co.uk.

And our survey said…

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Very good, apparently.

Actually, there’s no point in trying to be unduly cool and dispassionate about this one – it’s a massive deal for us!

Whilst we hoped that the way in which we were running our kitchen was appropriate for a professional purveyor of chompables, the proof of the pudding was always going to be in the eating and so, when the nice lady from the local Food Standards Agency office turned up this morning, it’s safe to say that were at least mildly interested in what she had to say about the general levels of hygiene at Greedy Pig HQ.

Quite rightly, no foodie business can operate without the go-ahead of its local food safety authority, and so gaining approval was pretty critical. At the same time though, to our minds, this one was not only a technical hoop through which we were obliged to jump but also a real landmark in the evolution of the Greedy Pig’s Pantry story which would take us from being a couple of folks with a rather vague and fluffy pipe-dream about growing stuff and selling stuff to actually becoming a bona fide food producer and retailer… if only at rather very modest level.

So, the 400 gallons of multipurpose cleaner with bleach, 72 miles of Tork cleaning cloth and thirty or so man-hours of domestic slave labour must have done the trick – turns out we had nothing to worry about. In all honesty our kitchen was hardly a midden in the first place; however, after recent efforts, one could quite reasonably eat one’s dinner off the floor around here. Luckily though, there’s no need, as we’ve rather cleverly decided to put various bits of our culinary repertoire into bottles & jars for you to sample on a surface of your choice.

Stay tuned and we’ll keep you up to date with the miscellany of foodie events that we get out to this summer – we’ll also have the shop up and running soon for mail-order sales. Watch this (dazzlingly clean & highly professional) space!

Sumer Is Icumen In

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Finally, after what has been pretty much universally acknowledged as a thoroughly miserable winter followed by an atrocious spring 2018, a glorious Beltane sunrise appears to have heralded-in a spot of decent weather.

To welcome in the May – despite the fact that the duvet was warm & inviting whilst outside it was pitch black & blinkin’ freezing – it seemed sensible to prepare a flask of hot, sweet coffee, trouser a hip-flask of home-made sloe gin and head-off for Haytor, to join the lunatic throng already gathered to watch Beltane Morris and chums usher in the summer months. A spectacular (if slightly bonkers) event which is well worth supporting should you be lurking about the moors on the first of May – as were the folks [here].

And no sooner has the sun popped-out but the entire place has taken on a rather tropical look; with hedges, lawns, paddocks and the wood beside us all suddenly exploding into life. It’s amazing how nature tends to pick up the slack and get itself back on track when it needs to; however, one suspects that this gorgeously warm spell will also result in more than few aching backs and corresponding long soaks in Epsom salt-laden baths.

And so, in the space of no more than a few days, we move from packing the pigs with additional bedding straw to refilling their wallows several times a day and offering cooling hose-downs on a regular basis. As always though, the Tamworths are taking it all in their stride and seem to be entirely happy with the Mediterranean conditions that we’re all currently being treated to. They really are remarkable creatures.

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Not so remarkable is our ability to cope with a little hard graft. Now that the rain has stopped and the paddock has dried-out, we’ve been going like the clappers to make up for time hitherto lost to foul weather.

This has involved a rapid re-digging of our vegetable plots before planting several hundred onions & garlic sets, a similar amount of potatoes, beans, peas and other sundry legumes, which will hopefully get us back on track as far as our veggie growing’s concerned.

The raised beds are now in their third season and, with last autumn’s application of several tons of well-rotted cow dung, the soil within them is now really rather spectacular. Here’s hoping that we’re in for a bumper harvest as compensation for such a stinker of a start to our year!

And finally for now, and ostensibly as a post-script to the previous posting, you’ll no doubt be delighted to learn that work on the polytunnel goes on a pace. Through heartless press-ganging of unsuspecting houseguests into the thankless task of digging post-holes in ground heaving with granite lumps of various sizes, we’re finally at a stage where the (extremely well-anchored) frame can start to go up.

At this rate we’ll have it fully functional just as I start to draw my pension.