Food manufacturers come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from a few people to tens of thousands, but there does seem to be a growing number of smaller businesses setting up on the back of the trend for locally and seasonally sourced food. Artisan bakers, smokeries, charcutiers and condiment producers, to name but a few, all seem to be doing well. I have to say that for quite a few years now I have been producing a wide variety of flavoured spirits, some of them, such as sloe gin or limoncello, fairly standard. Others are totally unique though - vanilla chilli vodka, copper’s punch (it’s always a knockout!) and simply “special”, which can never, ever be repeated since it’s an ongoing vat that continually gets added to…
More recently I have started to experiment with meatier products like bresaola, salami, biltong and sausages. The latter came about after I was given a sausage stuffer as a birthday present and can only liken its operation to Generation Game sort of fun! Hilarious for all ages but also requires skill and practice. Then there is of course the pride in people eating your products and asking where you got them from – “they’re delicious!”
So, I have now decided to not only produce my own products, but to also produce the raw ingredients too – pigs! A great idea thought up with a friend over a glass or two of sloe vodka – what else? The parents of one of my work colleagues at b3 have recently done this with a couple of pigs and apparently with great success. Given that my father was heavily involved with agriculture, especially pigs, plus the fact that we have found someone who has a spare few acres and is a trained butcher, it would seem that we are well on our way! However, what initially seemed like a very simple idea is now becoming a reasonably sized project. For instance, did you know that you need a County Parish Holding number for the land where the pigs are to be kept? Once you have that you need a licence, either General or Individual Movement, in order to move the pigs…then you need to think about registering your pigs and identifying them with an ear tag, a tattoo or a double slapmark! This is before you’ve even thought about fencing, shelters and feed let alone what you’re eventually going to make them into!
However, this has not put us off. It has in fact made it even more exciting – the thought of your own crackling on a juicy Sunday roast when you know exactly where it’s come from, homemade bangers, salamis and hams, and of course, the ultimate – hog roast!
So, watch this space. You never know, you might be able to buy some of Brasier’s Finest sweet cure smoked bacon sometime soon(ish)!