The pigs are out on the acorns and beech mast of the New Forest as I write – fattening up on a totally natural woodland diet that sees them sweeping up the acorns that are poisonous to the ponies, but which create rich and delicious pannage pork.
This is as pork used to taste for centuries – foraging across the forest during the Autumn and fattening up for some winter feasting. Pannage is an historical right bestowed to local people (commoners) to graze livestock on common land. William the Conqueror established pannage rules within the New Forest that are still in place today.
Richard’s pannage pigs will stay close to the farm at night for warmth, but are free to head off to wherever and whenever they choose – usually the parts of the wood that have the most nuts. This year is particularly good for beech mast so the pigs are enjoying sifting through the beech leaves for them. They are also partial to a wild mushroom or two and there is no doubt that they will be rooting out some black truffles on their travels. Acorns are their favourite but they have a mixed woodland diet.
The pigs are mixed rare-breed as they are best equipped to look after themselves. The meat is darker than usual and while there is not much fat, the fat that is there is rich and nutty and results in delicious pork.
It looks like the pannage pork will be ready for the beginning of December and we will be selling quarter, half and full carcases at £9 per kg. Each box will contain a mix of leg and shoulder joints, chops and belly and some diced or minced pork or sausage.
Please contact us directly if you are interested and you can specify how you would like your pork prepared with our cutting list.