I think I have mentioned River Cottage and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall a couple of times before, but I don’t think I ever properly introduced them (for those on this side of the ocean that are unlikely to have heard of them), and now seems rather timely, and a rather good lead in to the real subject today – Pork!
In the first series ‘Escape to River Cottage’ Hugh moves to Dorset and sets about raising, catching and preparing his own food.
The River Cottage series is about Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s dream to escape the urban sprawl and find a little place in the country where he can live off the fat of the land. When Hugh finds River Cottage nestling in the heart of the beautiful Dorset countryside he sets about turning his dream into a reality.
We have the first collection which has the first three series on DVD and watch it repeatedly. Looking for the link today I discovered there is a another collection which I am going to have to figure out how to get my hands on!
In his first year having gotten his edible crops underway he decides to lay down some meat futures and buys a pair of piglets. They are given the best life a little pig could ask for but their fate is never in doubt. As was the case here when we bought three piglets last summer.
Hugh’s opinions on raising animals for meat seem to be the same as ours, it is important that they live well, are allowed to exhibit their natural behaviours and are always treated respectfully. But they are being raised for a purpose. The best way to honour them is to ensure that everything possible is used. This is especially true with pigs and as he puts it ‘everything but the Oink’ can and should be put to good use.
To those of you who commented on my facebook status “tell me it wasn’t Beans” I would suggest you stop reading now.
Sadly we didn’t do a very good job with raising of our piglets and we lost two of them during the course of the summer. The third – Beans – was processed shortly before Christmas.
We vacuum packed and put in the freezer about 75lbs of roasts, hams, schnitzel, chops, spare ribs & stew meat. We made two large pots of stock, which headed for the freezer in measured bags. Steve made 8 black puddings, and is working on brawn. Nothing was wasted.
Unfortunately she was too lean for good bacon. I really love bacon but cannot find anywhere that sells it that I would feel comfortable buying. I miss bacon.
I never became particularly attached to the pigs, but now I miss knowing that if I really can’t finish my bowl of granola in the morning that it won’t go to waste! Through the summer I really loved that when I was weeding it didn’t go to waste. That when the cauliflowers never really produced anything good for our plates, it wasn’t a complete loss. I liked that we could help the folks at our local farmers market and our local grocery store not fill their garbage with usable, but not saleable, greens.
For those reasons we will be doing this again. But first we have to figure out where we are going to put our pigsty, and build pig-proof fencing! Then maybe next time we can give others the opportunity to enjoy pork that was raised fairly.
This post is part of Fight Back Friday.