Our home grown pork
For all the sentiment about preserving rare breeds, the most important thing to know about rare breed pork is that it is a wonderful product. Full of flavour, great texture and structure to the meat, very different to the wet, flabby pink meat of an intensively farmed pig.
Rare breed pigs became rare because of commercial pressures - not because they didn't taste great! From a financial point of view, the faster the pig grows, the sooner they go to market and generate profit so commercial 'pink' pigs have been bred to grow faster and to put on lean meat and almost no fat and live in confined quarters so that they don't waste any energy.
The quality of the meat and fat is a factor of three things – breed, diet and age. Rare breed pigs allowed to grow slowly in a free range environment with a high proportion of natural feed have the ability to produce the best quality carcass. Not only is the flavour of the meat superior to intensively farmed pigs but also has a better structure to the muscle as a direct result of the slow growth, diet and exercise.
Fat is a contentious subject - this year it seems to be in fashion again but whether it is 'in' or 'out', good quality fat is a wonderful thing - it keeps the meat moist and carries great flavour to your dish. You often hear about the health benefits of 'grass-fed beef' - well grass-fed pork is no different ... it just doesn't have the publicity machine working for it in the same way.
Maybe you are eating less meat these days - just make sure that it is great quality meat - a little great meat can go a long, long way and by supporting a rare breed, you are helping keep them going for future generations to enjoy.
Want to know more? Get hands on with a training course!
Whether you are a chef, a smallholder or simply a food enthusiast, we run bespoke training courses in the butchery.
Our whole philosophy is based on two principles: people learn best by doing things themselves (so we only have one or two people in the butchery with Robert) and everyone wants something different. The general aim is that people will learn enough to be confident to go away and go it alone whereas there are a lot of courses out there which are classroom style where each student may get to try a bit of hands on but mostly it is ‘watch, listen and learn’.
We don’t run routine courses and set dates in advance, rather we talk to potential students, work out what they want to achieve and then put a day together to suit their needs. I have packaged up a couple of offerings which we promote at certain times of the year – Valentine’s, Christmas etc and these are pasted these options below to give you an idea of what we do but if you are interested in knowing more, do email or call for a no obligation chat.
Need an usual gift for a foodie?
Learn a new skill - come on a Buttle Farm training course. Vouchers available.
1. Makin' Bacon (and sausages):
Get hands-on with a half day practical session: an introduction to pork butchery, boning, skinning, knife skills and an opportunity to make your own sausages and bacon. Course group limited to two people - no waiting around for 'your turn'. Work on the loin and belly from half a Buttle Farm 100% pedigree rare breed pig plus extra for making sausages - take some away with you same day, and collect your bacon when it is ready.
Four hour course for two people, all meat and refreshments included - £495 including VAT.
2. The Whole Hog (well, half actually)
A full day of butchery and charcuterie training: start with half a Buttle Farm 100% pedigree rare breed pig and end up with a selection of roasting joints, chops, bones for stock, bacon and ham in to cure, sausages or salamis stuffed. Maximum 2 people for a true hands-on session - an introduction to pork butchery including boning, skinning, curing and knife skills. Take the fresh pork away on the day and collect the cured product when it is ready.
8am-5pm - for two people, including refreshments, lunch and all produce - £895 including VAT. Or £540 including VAT if you have your own pig!