Many people are understandably confused by the terms ‘outdoor reared’ and ‘outdoor bred’ that are often applied to pork these days. The pork we sell is neither of those — it is totally free range, from pigs that have been born and spent their entire lives outside on Hugh and Paddy Norris’s farm at Steyning, on the top of the South Downs. If you live in the south east, then these pigs are your most local source of high quality free range pork.
Back in 1987, Hugh Norris was the first pig farmer to rear his animals in a free range system on a commercial scale, in the firm belief that it provides better animal welfare. It also produces better pork, and John has been buying pigs from Hugh ever since those early days.
Today the Norris’s herd numbers around 2,500 pigs, all Duroc-Hampshire cross, and they are completely free range all year round. The pigs lead a natural, healthy life, roaming freely in large paddocks for around 20 weeks; a considerably longer and happier lifespan than that of an intensively reared pig. In summer they bathe in mud wallows to protect themselves from the sun, and in winter they’re provided with sheltered deep straw beds to keep warm. They are slaughtered at an abattoir in Farnborough, about 40 miles from the farm.
The results of all this exercise and fresh air are a muscular carcass with firm, well flavoured meat, a good covering of fat and a skin that produces crisp crackling. Pork really is the most versatile of meats: we buy whole pigs from Hugh and Paddy, so we can butcher as required, and our customers are increasingly discovering the delights of cuts such as shoulder, collar and belly, all fantastic when slowly cooked. We use exactly that same pork in all of our prepared pork products – so our sausages, pies, sausage rolls and scotch eggs are all free range too.
Farm to butcher - 19 miles