Bite into British…. a clarion call from the farmers of Britain!
Happy 2022 to you all!
I wanted to share with you the issues that our farmers, especially pig farmers are currently facing.
These days of supply chain failures with delayed deliveries, the challenges for the hospitality industry with rising food and utility costs, shortages of staff, the continuing impacts of Covid are affecting everyone. The calls by chefs such as Tom Kerridge asking for support for the hospitality sector are loud and clear, and the government responded to a degree. It is time that we all stood together and supported our food producers, if everyone does that we will help sustain farmers producing great quality food! Through this support of our local food producers, farmers and specialist food producers, demand for their products will increase and, we can improve the availability of locally grown food in our shops. There are good reasons for doing this, economic, environmental, and health reasons.
I use local ingredients and produce wherever I can. When I created the Wallingford Food Festival In 2011 it was the local food producers who inspired me to make the event possible. With so many meat, dairy, vegetable/fruit, bread, cheeses, beers, wines, cakes, bakery, and many other producers within the local area, it did not take much to get them involved in the festival!
The goals of the festival were to educate local communities on the produce available and show them how easy it was to access the produce for their own cooking. Plus, to have a chance to talk to producers and understand how and why they produce the food.
I believe that we have a duty to support and engage with our local food producers. Passionate is an overused word, but it is a critical time for our farmers. Buying local means that we get the products fresher, more environmentally friendly i.e., less food miles, keeping money in the local economy, and eating more healthily. Get passionate about local food!
This news of this campaign was sent to me recently and I am so pleased to hear that the farmers are getting involved as well as the creativity that has gone into creating it! So here we go.
On the 23rd of December, amidst the growing Omicron Covid wave and the effects of the Brexit deal, a group of East Yorkshire farmers highlighted the new #biteintobritish campaign, led by Kate & Vicky Scott, otherwise known as the Morgan sisters.
Kate and Vicky have been proactive in voicing the challenges being faced by the pig industry currently. With a heartfelt plea to Boris Johnson and interviews on local media and BBC Breakfast the message about the difficulties pig farmers across the UK are facing, they clearly explain that the industry is at breaking point! You can see an interview with Kate on her farm with Anna Hill from Farming Today.
The purpose of the #biteintobritish campaign is to ask the nation to back British Farmers by buying British local quality produce, high welfare food and low food miles whenever they shop!
Gathering around forty different pig producers, they created the campaign following the challenges of the last year, which has led to staff shortages throughout the supply chain which created a backlog of pigs left on farms. Farmers face increased costs in feed etc. as well as running out of space for the pigs. The devastating result of a culling of animals which would never enter the food chain began in October 2021. The impact on the pig industry, with its accompanying stress and anger of farmers being put in this position, has been huge.
The #biteintobritish campaign had its launch just before Christmas with musical rewriting of “We Wish you a Merry Christmas”, new lyrics by Anna Longthorp, who is a pig farmer and café owner said, “We need to send a clear message to retailers that the British public want British produced, high welfare, ethical, sustainable food. It has never been more important given the last couple of years when supermarkets were stripped bare and people were forced to find the shorter supply chains, many going to their local butchers and farm shops, unfortunately this was short lived. One thing we CAN do is demonstrate to the large retailers that we demand British food on their shelves – the more demand there is from consumers, the more they will stock, rather than flooding the shelves with lower welfare, imported produce that would be illegal to produce in this country”.
Here are some images and a video of the jingle they sang in support of their campaign to get the people of Britain buy British! The jingle was recorded at The Christmas Tractor in Hayton and the group was conducted by Hugh Crabtree of Farmex.
Thanks to Anna, I have shared the video here. It is a lot of fun with a serious message to everyone who loves British produce.
The group will be at a promotional event at Tesco in Seacroft, Leeds LS14 6JD tomorrow, Friday 7th January at 11am, engaging with shoppers to explain why they should be buying British food, particularly pork. The current number of healthy pigs that have been culled and wasted has now reached over 30,000! More animals will be killed because they cannot be processed into the food chain due to the inability of abattoirs able to process them. The economic impact on the farmers is huge and the stress on them is now high. They are fighting to save their pigs, farms, homes, and their livelihoods. Please get involved with the campaign.
Show our support for the farmers of Britain who are facing so many issues at the same time, it is a perfect storm! We can help them by buying their produce and showing our support by connecting with them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the #biteintobritish hashtag!
You can find out more about Anna Longthorp – lyricist (Farmer and Café owner) through these links.
Anna was recently interviewed on Pig World Podcast. You can hear that episode here:
With all this talk of food, the recipe I have included is how to make a traditional pork pie, well it does seem appropriate. I hope you have a go at this as it is a great recipe, and you will be proud of the effort and results if you have a try! I was lucky to have good local pig producers and one who raised the old Oxford Black and Sandy pigs. This breed makes great quality and flavoured meat, ideal for the traditional pork pie.
Ask your butcher to prepare the meat for the recipe or get the cuts/joints and do the preparation work yourself. Hot water crust pastry is tricky, and you need to be careful with the lard and water when you heat it up. Keep your distance, do not let it overheat and do not lean in to check the contents of the pan as it can spit. Be quick when moving the pan to pour into the flour.
I made these for many local markets, either sold whole or by weight. I have also supplied them for weddings and other celebrations! I enjoy making them, but you do need patience and the process to get them right. If you have any questions about making one of these pies, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org - have fun trying the recipe!