Riding With A Sow

We Thoroughly Appreciate Your Custom!

One of the things that makes my job as market manager a real pleasure is meeting those of you who attend the markets regularly. It's also what makes our stall-holders buzz and why they keep getting up in the cold at nearly ungodly hours to make sure that their produce is the best it can be.

Thanks for making the market community what it is- without you we'd just be a bunch of producers in a square or car park! 

We hope you enjoy this update of the market blog- it seems that entries will be fortnightly as invariably something comes up and my stall-holders visit gets postponed or so other meeting needs to happen- we hope that's ok with you.

Happy reading.

Stall Holder Visit

Riding With A Sow

I arrived at Soggy Bottom in Glen Murray eventually. My navigation system had sent me into what I discovered was a circle with no open sides, navigation issues seem to be a recurring issue when paying stallholders visits!  

It was Thursday- pie making day at Jono's, so I washed my hands, donned an apron and dug my hands into a bowl of warm pastry. Carolyn, who takes care of the Cambridge markets for Jono is chief pie maker and she'd previously mentioned that the idea of sinking ones feet into the pastry on a chilly day is temping, she was not wrong. I think it's because the suet pastry is the consistency of playdoh! Rolling and shaping the pastry to make pie bases as Carolyn instructed was very therapeutic!  
Jono has Tamworth and Wessex Saddleback pigs on his 60 acre farm. It's a very steep piece of land and there's a lot of clay, which made for a terribly exciting ride on the back of the tractor when we went to move one of his sows. It also means that after a lot of rain, particularly in the winter his paddocks get very boggy and there is a real difficulty with erosion.
To give the land the chance to rejuvenate Jono, after much sole searching, built 'Hotel California' a winter residence for his free range pigs, much to his relief they have given the nod of approval to with their trotters, preferring the winter residence to being outside in the elements.   

We collected a 250kg sow, the last one to join the others, and headed down the hill with she and I in the trailer, it turns out she moved around a lot to retain her upstanding position, which meant that in a attempt to retain the use of my legs (this was possibly overly cautious on my part), I was doing a wee dance around the trailer, it was great fun. I had the added bonus of watching four piglets weaving, ducking and diving in and out of bushes keeping ahead of the tractor as we drive along the rugged track. I tired to get a selfie with the sow but she was so big and it was so bumpy that we couldn't quite make happen!   
In the hotel, it was clean and I was overwhelmed not by smell but by noise. What a rowdy lot the pigs are, they play around like puppies and make sounds like muffled barks, it's adorable! The pigs have funny little quirks like enjoying sucking on freshly sawn posts like a lollipop. The posts that hold up the housing for the newly weened pigs are pencil thin at pig head height!

I saw for myself why 'Soggy Bottom', at the bottom of Jono's property was a boggy swampy area which they've turned I to a lake, now home to ducks and other wetland creatures.   Between the pigs, several of which I'd have happily smuggled home on account of their cuteness, cows, chickens and ducks there is a lot to do just tending to the livestock, but that's not where it ends. 
Jono, Carolyn and Wwoofa Amy, also run sausage making courses for private and corporate groups, bake pies, make a huge range of sausages and black pudding, smoke meat and make just about any cut of meat a carnivore could dream of.   

I was impressed by the use of Jono's land, the enthusiasm and thoughtfulness displayed in the care of the livestock and the fun environment at Soggy Bottom, so if you want to experience that for yourself why not try a sausage making course!

New To The Markets

This weekend we're welcoming Tumeke Gardens to the Hamilton Farmers Market. They will be selling locally grown Orchids- go and check them out beside Celtic Cuisine this Sunday.

What's At The Markets This Weekend?

Visit the Tempo page for details of what's available this coming weekend at the Farmers' Market nearest to you. Click here! 

That's All Folks

Thanks for reading- please send any feedback to me! and if you havent already like us on FB for regular updates from the markets