October 14th, 2014 Ethical Pork

Bellair Haye Farm ~ Returning to the Land

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Bellair Haye Pork

In the 1960’s my grandparents bought four acres in Dorset, made a living and supported their family through market gardening. They erected poly tunnels and produced strawberries, salads and courgettes, which were sold to local pubs, restaurants and markets. During the rise of the supermarket in the 1980’s and 90’s these four acres became unviable and my family dispersed into other non-agricultural jobs. For the period that followed, the land was rented out, left fallow with a few goats and sheep grazing from time to time and I migrated to London to work in marketing.


Recently, my Mum and aunt decided to open a tearoom and farm shop and I knew this was my ticket back into country life and a farming career. With four acres of land to work with pigs were the obvious choice because I could produce enough of them to make a living while allowing them to live happily. I decided to focus on rare breeds because they fetch a premium for their meat and are well suited for the outdoor lifestyle I was providing them. Our Gloucester Old Spot pigs live outside year round with an open sided shed for the wintertime and return to freshly seeded paddocks in the spring. They spend their days rooting in the earth, feasting on earthworms, fruit and nuts from the orchard and enjoy an incredibly high quality of life. Last autumn I asked customers to bring their windfall apples to the shop and I would buy them for the pigs. Most people donated their apples (equaling 3 tonnes) and we donated money to charity in lieu of paying neighbours for their apples.

Pigs are incredible sentient creatures whom enjoy human interaction, a good belly scratch and the freedom to interact with their environment. It is incredible to be a part of the cycle of life of these amazing animals. Farming in this way is in keeping with the rolling hills and the small holding traditions that run through my blood; there was no other way I would choose to farm, I would never run a farm that was cruel.

Rare breed meat allows me to charge the premium necessary to keep the number of animals I produce per year low (200); with the meat being sold directly to the customer via our farm shop. However, there are ways that people can enjoy this amazing meat even if they are on a budget (£10 per kilo for high end cuts but the offal and off-cuts always sells out: trotters £1 for a pair; 80p for a pig heart; liver £3 per kilo).

Tom Summers, pig farmer


Fast Facts about Bellair Haye Pork:

§  They raise Gloucester Old Spot pigs

§  Annie, Camilla, Bertha are some favoured sows and Jaffa is their beloved boar

§  Gloucester Old Spots are the oldest rare breed in the UK

§  They are not commercially viable because they take a longer time to mature and produce quite a lot of (delicious) back fat which is undesirably in for supermarket sales


Contact: Tom Summers

Website: www.felicitysfarmshop.co.uk

Email: enquiries@felicitysfarmshop.co.uk

Twitter: @Felicitys_FS

Farm Shop: Morcombelake, DT6 6DJ

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