Jan – 2012
About this time in 2012 I was sat in a bungalow in Dubai working for a horrible corporate company, in meetings we talked about money, figures, money, profit, money, audits, money, P and L’s and profit, money and money and how we could make the most margin’s etc…….
I was probably staring out of the window at some sand and a tall buildings. I was most probably subjecting my wonderful, tolerant and supportive wife Willow Paterson to my dreams about my own little food business back in Devon selling stuff on farmers markets etc……. (again) I expect I was watching a River Cottage DVD about cutting up pigs or something like that. I expect Pete had a hangover as it was his birthday the day before, I didn’t know I was 3000 miles away.
Jan – 2013
About this time in 2013 Pete Woodham-kay and I were sitting in my kitchen in Devon with 4 salami’s and 4 chorizo’s, that tasted amazing, thinking why the hell didn’t we make more of these 6 weeks ago when we hung them up to dry! Pete had a hangover as it was his birthday on the 7th of Jan.
About this time in 2014 Pete and I were in a portocabin in Clyst St Mary which we had just bought in Exmouth. We were trying to turn it into a butchery and charcuterie hanging room. We had one volunteer butcher Denis (75 I think) who was kind enough to help us with his wealth of butchery knowledge (and boy did we need it). He was making sausages before I we born!
Today one more year on Jan 2015. My, now a little less tolerant, but still tolerant wife (sometimes), Pete’s even more tolerant wife (not so often) and our wonderful friends have supported us so much in get this business off the ground. Our friends and family have built websites, done diy, run markets, helped at festival and packed hamper.
I went into the butchery at lunch time for 30 minutes to collect some meat and generally distract people trying to work with ridiculous ideas like, “I think we should start buying whole cows now”. Rich now the full time butcher for us (Denis’ little lad, he trained under Denis for years. Now they are back working as a team) and Denis were grafting away on three huge pigs that Wenna has reared exclusively for us. (It’s OK as Denis’ lad is having a birthday next week and he’s older than me, 29 or something similar. We haven’t got child labour).
In the yard there is a dedicated hanging room and a huge range of different products. We have won awards for our fine charcuterie and it’s on sale as far away as London in Borough Market.
Yesterday, which was Pete’s birthday, so he was hung-over today, we had an email from Steve Lamb. Steve runs the course at River Cottage where I actually learned to make charcuterie properly in 2012. Steve said he has heard about us and tried some of our products. He then asked if he can come and visit us and see how we do what we do and he also wants to reference us in the course as (we are told) the only commercial charcuterie company in the UK who are completely Nitrate and Additive free.
My phone has just rung and it’s the manager from River Cottage in Axminster. “Please can I order some of your Face Bacon as we want to put it on the menu”. (Face Bacon is what the Italian’s call guanciale and quite simply cured pig cheek. So it’s Bacon made from the face of a pig, hence face bacon. It’s really good, it’s like the tastiest bacon you have ever tried.)
What a journey in 3 years from watching a River Cottage DVD 3000 miles away and saying I want to do that stuff and now the guy who made the DVD calls and wants to buy what we are making.
I wonder what will be happening on this day in 2016! I know one thing for sure…………
Pete will be hungover (I hope)
The rest, who know………