A Sacrifice for Charity

Photo with thanks to spudballoo.com

We’ve been raising a few Tamworth Pigs on @RoseryFarm in Great Bealings and when I discovered Mike Keen (@theIpswichTap) was suggesting a Hog Roast for food at the Suffolk Twestival party, our donation became obvious.

I thought I would share the story of Mr Pig’s upbringing – it is important to understand where your food comes from and the circumstances in which it was reared. We originally purchased 6 ‘girl piglets’ in autumn last year from Karon and Simon Sanders a friendly and helpful couple, the proprietors of Stackyard Nursery (@stackyard) (you ought to pay them a visit- it’s a fine example of a Suffolk owner managed business).we earmarked 6 little girls to avoid the trouble of separating them when the boys wanted to get “active”. As it turned out one of the ‘girls’ hid his true gender – he has turned out to be a rather hefty boar! He’s the hog on the roast, I’m afraid. So if anyone asks, that’s the process I followed to select the Suffolk Twestival hog!

I was responsible for feeding the pigs twice a day during the harsh winter and defrosting their water supply every morning – one morning I was forced to drive down to the pigs’ field in the Land Rover as it was just too cold to walk or take the quad bike – the temperature gauge registered minus 10 degrees C! Raising livestock in a high welfare environment is a labour of love, trust me.

A number of people have been confused by my recent decision to convert to a vegan way of life. This decision was purely motivated by health considerations although  animal welfare will always remain important to me.

Raising the pigs is an experimental business for us. At no stage, was I under the false pretenses that they were ever to be pets although I have a natural fondness for them. As a pig farmer (yes, who would have believed it) – I am vehemently opposed to drugs and feel that there is no other option but to give an animal a free-range existence. The pigs were born in the sunshine (or as much as we have in the UK) and lived on open land with plenty of space – should anyone wish to come and visit – I would be happy and proud to show them around.

Yesterday at the abattoir I led Mr Pig past a pen of sickly, anaemic looking pigs that have clearly never seen the light of day. They had calloused feet being raised on concrete and they looked very unhappy.  That is not right or fair and I would never knowingly support a business that derived profit out of such derision.

Our Mr Pig had a very happy life. No two ways about it – the decision to end its life was mine. It rests heavy on my heart but I do not regret it, I am proud that your Hog Roast is brought to you from a very ethical farm, just round the corner, and in support of such a wonderful charitable cause.

Suffolk has a reputation for top notch Pork and I learnt a lot from my Pork in a Day Food Safari last year. Polly Robinson (@foodsafariuk), the founder of Food Safari has kindly donated to the Suffolk Twestival Raffle/Auction this year– a very generous ticket to her Lamb Butchery Course on the May 5. It’s so important for all of us to understand the “From Field to Fork” process. In my opinion, we should all have a responsibility to understand where our food comes from and the implications of our buying choices and personal tastes. Suffolk also has a growing reputation as a self-sufficient food county and I do hope everyone continues to support our wonderful farmers and producers. We have much to be proud of.

My parting words, the hog on the roast is enough to feed 150 and it would be a travesty of justice if we didn’t sell-out! Please bring your friends and make sure Mr Pig doesn’t go to waste. Thank you. Tickets are available here.

For more photos and Piggy talk – please read “This little piggy went to market”

For those of you who’d like to know a little more about Suffolk Twestival I put a little video together. You’ll see the pigs in the background!


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