who are they?
Paddy and Hannah do triple duty as civil servants, parents of two young ones, and smallholder farmers. The latter began five years ago when, dismayed at the typically tasteless and imported pork available, they bought their first pigs Trudy and No Name and began a mission to produce great tasting, high welfare pork from pig pen to plate.
where are they?
The Merry Pig’s 3-acre smallholding is near Butler’s Cross and Coombe Hill, a landmark of the Chilterns. They work solely with traditional British rare breeds and are currently giving some Berkshire (breed native to the Thames Valley) and Large Black (on the Rare Breed Survival Trust’s ‘Vulnerable’ List) pigs the 5-star treatment they deserve.
what do they produce?
Taking inspiration from charcuterie traditions in France, Spain and Italy, it all starts with one crucial ingredient: top-notch flavourful pork. The very merry pigs are born and reared in the great outdoors, spending their days rooting around in the grass, mud, and plum orchard. Slow growing breeds mean fuller flavoured meat and a good meat to fat ratio.
Preparing for a steep learning curve, Paddy immersed himself in a butchery course at Leeds City College and charcuterie-making at the Artisan School of Food. Their home kitchen is now certified and the curing cabinet full of salami, chorizo and pancetta, with more cuts and varieties planned in future.
what makes them special?
Foodies who love continental-style delicacies can now enjoy 100% local charcuterie from passionately reared pigs that play an important role in sustainable rural farming.
“Traceability is such a fashionable word now, but it’s the way we do things. We can tell our customers what’s in it, which pig it came from, what that pig ate and who the pig’s grandparents are.” (Paddy)