You may have noticed that this year there is a particularly heavy fall of acorns, and this is wonderful news for the acorn-fed pigs of the New Forest and for those who like outstanding pork with a rich, nutty tasty and outstanding texture.
In Spain you pay serious money for some acorn-fed bellota jamon, but over here the acorn-fed pork is extremely rare and unknown. Nevertheless, pannage pork is an historical right bestowed to local people (Commoners) on common land and is an important part of the New Forest ecology: pigs can safely eat the acorns which are poisonous to the ponies and cattle. William the Conqueror established limitations and rules within the New Forest in the 11th Century that still hold today. This year, the pannage runs until late December due to the sheer quantity of acorns.
The farmer then has to round them up from the forest where they have been hoovering up the acorns, along with beech mast, chestnuts and no doubt the occassional porcini mushroom. They are finished on barley.
We will be selling quarter boxes of pannage pork at £8.99 per kg, with a mix of leg joint,chops and belly. There are not very many, so do let us know if you are interested. The pork tastes as pork used to taste hundreds of years ago, when most people had pigs that were fattened on mast and acorns in the run up to Christmas. It is the most sustainable system in the UK, with delicious results.