Before Christmas I started having fond memories of raising our own two pigs for meat around 5 years ago. Now, living in a mid terrace house, I don’t think my neighbours would particularly appreciate the grunting of a four legged porcine creature lurking at the bottom of the garden, so raising our own animals at our current home is not an option. However a couple of years ago, a butcher opened in the street at the top of our road who had the answer to my quandary!
Over the past couple of years I have often, especially when working from home and craving a bacon buttie, utilised said butcher to supply meat for stews, evening meals and BBQs and have never been displeased. Shaun, the butcher, is always very friendly, always has time for a chat, and really cares about the meat for sale in his shop.
The meat comes from his own farm in the main, and he opened the shop in order to provide a more cost effective market for his own produce rather than selling to supermarkets. The meat and produce he does not raise himself is sourced locally too, from farmers and suppliers with the same ethics. I always think it’s a shame more people can’t adopt the same sort of approach, but the constant stream of people in and out of Shaun’s shop, and the depleted stocks of meat in the local co-op as ordering has been reduced with diminished demand speak volumes and show that the demand for free range meat that has been cared for and reared locally has a ready market in villages, even in these apparent tough times.
The truth of the matter though is that the cost isn’t any more than in the supermarket and you know the food miles are minimal. Shaun can tell you the name of the beast your chops, stewing meat or joint have come from if you like, or the breed of animal on which you’re dining. Most supermarkets will give you the face of the farmer and a sell by date.
Anyway, to cut to the chase, I enquired with Shaun about whether he would be able to supply me with half a pig. I had a few drawers free in the freezer and thought why not save myself a few pennies with a deal on bulk bought meat whilst giving no compromise on quality! ‘Not a problem’ was Shaun’s response. 3 days later, I collected the half pig and filled up the freezer, and what delicious meat that pig is providing. When the freezer is empty, I shall be placing another order and restocking the drawers, as not only is pork incredibly tasty and versatile, there is no waste from the animal and a full freezer runs more efficiently!
So if you’re looking at the increasing meat prices in the supermarket but still want your meat fix, speak to a local butcher about sourcing a whole or half pig. Most will do so for you, and the best butchers will be able to fill you in on all the background information about your animal too, and be happy and passionate about doing so. Go on – Pig out!