During the summer we have spent a lot of time working with Ben and Morwenna at their farm on the Powderham Estate. We have been looking at and talking about pigs.
Our aim is to get some nice fat pigs that we can use to make nice pig fatty cuts like Pancetta, Guanciale , Back Bacon and Coppa. We want the connective fat in the muscle we work with to properly marble and this can only be done with time and by using slow grown meat that takes at least 8 months to mature. We are still working with good commercial breeds like large white to get us great lean pork that we need for making fresh sausages and burgers but some of the whole muscle produce needs to be bigger and fatter.
We have also been working with John up on Woodbury common who is keen to breed pedigree Large Blacks that live outside all the year round and get to eat a diet of Acorns on the common.
We have been learning a lot about where our pig breeds came from and one of the most interesting stories is the Large Black pig or the Devon Black Pig. These reached popularity in the 1800’s but have been about long before then. It is said that Sir Francis Drake first brought them to Tavistock in 15 something or other where they had an uncanny resembalance to the Spanish Pata Negra.
See what you think?
This means we should be able to produce air dried meat from them to rival the prized Iberico hams.
We are also on the lookout for some Devon Lops which are another breed associated with the Tavistock area. Both the Black and the Lop are on of the rarest breeds in the UK now.
Here is an old picture of both Pigs together from many years ago.
We have been working with some Gloucester Old Spot (GOS) crossed with Berkshires which have produced some amazing pork. There are 4 more of these getting fat as we speak.
The two pedigree pigs we have that will be up to size soon are the GOS and the Tamworth pigs. The Tamworths are a little bit of a handful and do like to escape or break into the cow pen to eat their food! Apparently this is all about the ears and the upright ears mean they will be a bit of a handful. We are expecting the Tamworth to give us excellent Coppa Hams as the shoulders are so much bigger.
We look forward to the new year and trying out this little lot.
Here is what we can make from them.