We've had Hugh’s Fish fight, lots of people fighting the corner for chickens and some fabulous work for farm animals in general especially from Compassion in World Farming, though apart from the banning of sow cages in the UK, pigs have not had much welfare publicity. Though now we have The Pig Pledge & The Pig Idea part of the Feeding the 5000, which The Butchery Ltd did all the butchery for last years Trafalgar Square feast. The food waste fed pork was exceptional with a huge depth of flavour, we have since also butchered a few other special pigs,[ fed on by products like whey and seen some very flavoursome pork. We believe, that as with cattle & sheep growing animals more slowly & naturally with a varied diet leads to a higher nutritional value in the meat, that all old fashioned "real meat" flavour & depth that is missing in a lot of modern meat. Alternatively pigs that gain a large part their nutrition from a single source take on some its elements, do you want that to be GM modified imported soya and corn, or whey from a local dairy or used hops from a brewery? Compare some of your local supermarket pork to the last bit of Spanish Jamon made from black pigs raised on acorns if you need any help making that decision.

Generally we don't get on the bandwagon as there are just so many "do-gooding" options out there. When we started The Butchery Ltd in 2011 we decided that we would source well raised meat from sources we felt comfortable with and let the taste & general quality of the meat speak for its self rather than preaching ethics to everyone, but pigs dead & alive have had our heart for so long that we seem to have gotten on the wagon.

Pigs by their very nature often end up being farmed in less than idyllic circumstances. The Foot & Mouth outbreak of 2001 in the UK,  led to the sudden & total banning of feeding any scraps from human consumption, to pigs. Since 2002 this has been a EU wide ban, a crying shame for our growing food waste problem, more details can be found on the The Pig Idea solutions.

Food waste is a problem prevalent in the world, feeding pigs and other animals our food waste is one angle, The other is not to make as much waste to begin with. Everyone making more effort to use all parts of the animals they choose to eat and only buying enough for their needs, means we can eat less but better raised meat.

Well fed and raised pork can be easily bought throughout the UK & is fabulous value for money, we see hundreds of people from all walks of life & cultures buy this type of pork from us every week, long may this continue as its the only way to support the small farmers we buy from, not to mention our growing staff and ourselves.  Most supermarkets & many, but definitely not, all independent butchers and farm shops can supply those wanting to purchase higher welfare pork, but read your labels and ask questions, be aware of general answers & understand that unfortunately some schemes are more about the marketing & pretty labels than the animal welfare (see here for details). For example Red Tractor guarantees British, but not necessarily very high standards of welfare.

More people buying higher welfare fresh pork is fab to see, but we would like to spread this word & thoughts further, many of the UK's favourite “meats” are from processed pork, bacon, ham & sausages.  Start checking your labels & asking some close questions and you might get a bit of a scare, aside from the salt and the "E numbers" your processed pork product is much more likely to have been factory farmed and, or, from abroad. Why is this bad? Well apart from the fact that the UK's pig farmers need all the support they can get & the unnecessary food miles, farming standards vary wildly. A cry we often find ourselves muttering is "Not all meat is created equal".

So next pork pie, pepperoni pizza, bacon butty or ham & pickle sandwich you buy - check its happy pork, if nothing else, your taste buds and health will thank you, as, better raised pork has more flavour it tends to need less processing & if someone cares enough to use high welfare pork your probably going to find they care enough to make sure it tastes just fab. Next time you see that piece of heart or liver in the butchers window, snap it up and try a new recipe.

So take the PIG PLEDGE and remember bacon, salami, ham & sausages are pigs too!

 
 
In a departure from our usual style of bringing pure bred English native breeds to you via The Butchery’s counter, this week we have a cross breed of Austrian Hungarian heritage! The Mangalitza. Though in our defence when starting The Butchery one of our main aims was to bring to London, and generally make more available special animals that weren't otherwise easily available.  And Ruth really is a sucker for any sort of tasty pork.
Some of you may recognise the Mangalitza as the curly haired pig sometimes mistaken for a sheep. In the UK purebreds are very, very rare, numbers seem to  be inaccurate, but happy to be enlightened, anyone ? Ours is crossed with a Berkshire
Mangalitza Blondes which ours is are thought to be similar to the now extinct Lincolnshire Curly Coated pig
A large framed breed with excellent quality fat often used for Lardo and with wild boar heritage a great rich piggy flavour.
We had chops tonight and they were very tasty, looking forward to what everyone else thinks if they get a chance to try some of this rare occurrence, though fingers crossed we can get our hands and knives on some more. 
Our Mangalitza was slowly raised to 11 months (seems young but UK average age for pork animals is 6 months and even the native breeds we noramlly have are 9 months at slaughter) in a free range environment, rooting around and munching on many an apple, on a very small holding near Chipping Norton. This beast arrived special delivery by Max the small holder himself.

Also in the counter this week lovely Llanwenog lamb, Fosse Meadows Farm' s Cotswold White and Gold Chicken both as featured in the latest Jamie Magazine and Belted Galloway beef.

Talking about what is going to be in the counter I am rather pleased with my current beef rail line up, all aging nicely ready to go into the counter at Spa Terminus on Saturdays we have coming up over the next few weeks Whitepark, Belted Galloway, Longhorn & Dexter. I can also say those of you with Beef Cartel tickets are in for treat as the beef is also in my coolroom and is covered in unctuous yellow fat.
 
 
Well Saturday 26th November will be our 3rd Saturday trading at Maltby St Market, specifically in 1 Ropemaker Walk with the very supportive and welcoming Ham and Cheese Co and The Kernel Brewery.

It has a been a hectic ride, with quite a few challenges still to come, including preparing our permanent space where we are currently doing the production, a little further east down the railway tracks ready for the grand opening early next year.

But this is an update promised to many of you about what we will be serving this week. 

Beef will be a combination of some very nicely 42 day dry aged Traditional Hereford from Farmer Tom in Herefordshire and a new one for us, Red Poll from Suffolk, succulent and well marbled this is the “beef of old England”. Originally from East Anglia the breed made it’s first herd book in 1874. Red polls are excellent foragers allowing the animals to graze naturally on mixed pastures and shrub land developing a great flavour for us to graze on. Also a fab milk producer this is the just the sort of animal we should be "eating to keep", and have been, with the Red Poll having made a successful comeback from a small herd of only 800 breeding ladies.

"An exquisite and unique flavour from mature meat of a very individualistic old breed. Try it! " - Clarissa Dickinson Wright

Lamb is another Suffolk this week, a native breed rather than an a rare-breed these also come from farmer Tom of the Traditional Herefords and have led such a happy pasture-fed existence and are so tasty we can’t resist.
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Mutton - the foggy weather has definlty meant it is time to pull out ther Le Creuset, slow cooker or whatever is your prefered method of creating comfort food and we have Sullolk Mutton for you also fromTom. Not always avaible and very often neglected by all, come and see hat you have been missing, fabulous for full depth of flavour mutton is lamb that is more than 24mths old when it goes to the slaughter house (or AltonTowers as Farmer Tom puts it). We love our cattle slowly raised (30months at least) on good pasture lets savour our sheep this way too. If its good enough for the Hairy Bikers, Hugh, Matt Tebbutt and Prince Charles maybe its good enough for you?

Pork is Tamworth this week - The good old Ginger just like the butcher, originally a Midlander ours is from Herefordhsire this week. The Tamworth was bought back to the UK for it's revival from Australian breeding stock. Pork from the Tamworth is renowned in pig cirlces for coming first by a full pig length in a ‘taste test” by Bristol University.  

Bacon -  for a first the first appearance this week week, we have of some Gloucester Old Spot bacon,  green and smoked, streaky and back so come and get it sliced to order for you on our very ancient big old Berkel Slicer. Is it bad that owning one of these has been a long time fantasy? Eventually we will be doing our own bacon from start to finish but in t he meantime we have sourced this great rare breed bacon as it’s not really a butcher shop unless we stock the secret vegetarian conversion weapon is it ?

Sausages from Gloucester Old Spot - this is a tough one (not the actual sausages I hope) We are making our own from scratch using meat from the same rare breed pork we are serving in the cabinet each week, a standard if you are going to be able to do proper whole carcass nose to tail butchery. But we also dont want to add rusk and all the “E” numbers and anti-caking agents that invloves. Most sausages have small to large amounts of rusk in them - this binds the meat together and soaks up the fat as you cook creating texture and keeping the moistness of the fat within the sausage.  Whilst our sausages are bulging with fab pork (a little beef too in the Kilebasa), fresh herbs and spices they do not have rusk, and so we are still tweaking the recipe each week a little to we find perfection for you. Kielbasa and Zingy Herb and Garlic up for grabs this week.

Chicken and one lonely Cockerel - So far our Fosse Meadows chickens have had many great comments and even repeat customers (pretty good we thought after only 2 weeks) so they will be happlily in the cabinet again alongside soemthing a bit special. For Christmas we plan on stocking Cockerel, also from Fosse Meadows, so those of you still debating what to put on the Christmas table you might find a cockerel the perfect answer. An uncastrated male chicken, tradionally used to make Coq Au Vin or for long slow roasting. A great alternative to the turkey, just a touch smaller msking it easier to cook and with serious flavour. 

Hope to see you Saturday and thanks to everyone that has dropped by already. Christmas orders will be taken from next week.