Another batch gone, another freezer full…

Always a tricky balance this one – weighing-up the despatch of animals to which we’ve become very attached against the acquisition of a freezer full of wholesome, delicious and (hopefully) ethically agreeable food.

Whilst we’ve always been concerned about food created through intensive farming – favouring locally reared, chemical-free, organically fed and free-range alternatives – we are, nonetheless, both committed and enthusiastic carnivores, with a keen interest in sourcing quality meat products of all kinds. With this in mind, the natural next step for us was to involve ourselves directly in the creation of at least some of the meat we were eating, which is why started keeping pigs some ten or so years ago.

To us, it’s a pretty straightforward contract between diner and pig. We get to enjoy delicious tucker but, in return, we undertake to raise animals in the most sympathetic manner possible, in a comfortable and stimulating home environment, filled with the best organic feed, fresh fruit & veggies straight from the garden – and with ear-scratches and belly rubs on tap.

Simple enough to deliver but sadly still quite a rare method of production – particularly in the case of pork – which beggars belief really as, aside from any moral considerations, our experience has been that this form of pig husbandry results in the most incredibly sweet and toothsome pork.

Of course, to many, the main consideration here is that this particular production method is far from cheap; however, in our opinion, cost is absolutely no defence for the terrible conditions which many animals must endure, simply to allow supermarkets to make money by selling low quality meat at artificially low prices – it’s unstainable on pretty much every level.

So, for what it’s worth, here’s our message. If your circumstances allow, enjoy food that is produced locally and to high welfare standards – even if it costs you a little more. The likelihood is that the chaps you’re buying from aren’t quoted on the stock exchange and won’t be zooming around in a Rolls-Royce any time soon – but they’ll make sure that the meat you’re eating had the very best of lives before it started the journey to your plate.

And if it means that you only get to tuck into that pile of sizzling bangers once a week rather than every other day, is that really too great a price to pay?

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.