In my continued quest to reduce our food miles, and thereby our food footprint, I bought half a pig.
The lovely farmer kept to his word and called back when he had had the gilt (girl pig) slaughtered. We agreed a price per kilo that is a slight premium over what I pay at the supermarket and a butchering cost of £25. It was a cost I was willing to bear for this challenge.
My pig was delivered to a local butcher and I liased with him on how to butcher the pig. You may remember from the last Friday footprint challenge post that I was really apprehensive about this. I just don’t know my cuts.
The butcher was really patient with me and talked through all the bits and the different cuts for each part of the pig. Together we worked out what I wanted.
JE Pill and Sons, has been around for ever, apparently and I didn’t even know these guys existed. They are in a less affluent area of Oxford where people are still used to going to their butcher for all sorts of different cuts the supermarkets don’t cater for. Thanks to taking on the Friday footprint challenge, I think, I will start a monthly meat shop with them too.
While we sorted out my half pig, I watched the people come and go. There was something so much more personal about the customers buying their meats and sausages here. Once in a while a regular came in and there was real banter going on. It was lovely!
I said I’m happy to sacrifice the personal relationships with the vendors for the ease and speed of supermarket shopping. Well, I’m slightly rethinking that. If the price is just marginally more, but you trust the source better, then I think that’s a price worth paying.
Only after ordering did I realise that my sights were bigger than my freezer. Thankfully, we came to an arrangement that my meat would be stored for me for a couple of weeks while I make more space.
I took about a third of the meat home, including the head.
My dad, who is visiting at the moment was overjoyed (…not!) with the prospect of processing the head. He did a great job! We had a delicious stew from the meat that came off it and the skull was cooked up to make a broth. The dog has since gradually devoured the remainders of the skull.
We’ve processed the meats further into smaller portions, diced some up for stews and filled the freezer.
This weekend will be our first roast from the pig. I am looking forward to it and seeing if we can taste the difference.
What do you think of buying half a pig instead of just favourite cuts?
Image credit: Earth Trust
You can join the Friday Footprint challenge with current blog posts about:
- shopping locally- what treasures are you finding?
- buying seasonal
- meal plans from seasonal produce
- growing your own produce- it could be herbs or salads or keeping chickens for their eggs
- delicious recipes using seasonal produce
The half a pig cost £165.
The butchers are JE Pill & Sons – if you’re around Oxford and are looking for a butcher. I definitely recommend looking them up.