Consumers throughout Wales will have a chance to win a hog roast in an innovative new marketing push by Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC), in which people will be asked to think how far their pork is from their fork.
The theme of the marketing campaign is ‘Porximity’, and is designed to highlight how many dedicated, specialist pork producers there are in Wales. The campaign will build on the momentum gathered by the Welsh pork industry since the launch of the Porc.Wales website and directory last year.
Pork consumers will have an exclusive chance to win an online competition entitled ‘Hog It!’ during August. By searching for their closest pork producer on the Porc.Wales website and sharing it on Twitter, people can have a chance to win a full hog roast for any event of their choice – a wedding, a birthday or a community celebration.
“The pork industry in Wales is dominated by small-scale, artisan producers, who are dedicated to rearing the very best pork,” said HCC Market Development Officer Melanie Cargill. “Since we launched the website last year, the Welsh pork industry has risen in prominence.”
“People increasingly love to eat food that’s been produced locally,” added Melanie. “This competition and online marketing drive is a chance to bring producers and consumers together, and share the passion that our pork farmers and butchers have for top-quality, sustainable food.”
Sharon Jones is one small-scale producer who is showcased on the Porc.Wales website.
“Until seven years ago, I had never set foot on a farm,” says Sharon of Moch Llŷn, who are based between Abersoch and Aberdaron. “I was a city girl at heart and worked in a solicitor’s office, but married a farmer. After having my first little girl, my husband Tom and I decided that we wanted to find a way for me to stay at home with her. It was then that I suggested that I should get some pigs and give farming a go.
“I initially started with three or four pigs a month, but now it’s up to 20-24 Welsh pure-breeds and Hampshire pigs,” explains Sharon.
The distinctive characteristics of Moch Llŷn’s pork have found favour with a wide range of north Wales consumers. “My pork has a stronger flavour, which my customers love,” says Sharon. “It doesn’t take as long to cook either, and it just melts in the mouth. When you grill or fry the bacon or sausages I produce, there is none of the water and much less fat than usually associated with processed meats, so a lot of people who are dieting like to buy from me.”
Rob Rattray, Aberystwyth
Aberystwyth butcher Rob Rattray is celebrating 25 years running his own shop, and has been in the trade for even longer.
Rob says that: “With these years of expertise under my belt, I have learned to recognise good quality produce. Pork from Wales has a nice layer of fat and a good level of marbling, which gives it a unique taste.
“At my butcher’s shop, all the meat is sourced from neighbouring areas, and over the years we have nurtured relationships with nearby farmers who understand exactly what our customers are looking for,” adds Rob.
Rob is a firm believer in buying local; “Purchasing pork from Wales helps Welsh businesses and farmers retain their tradition and years of experience,” he says. “I am proud to stock traditional pure Welsh Pedigree pigs – our national breed - and my customers are passionate about it too!”
Tŷ Siriol, Pontarddulais
Tŷ Siriol, at Pontarddulais near Swansea, is one smallholding whose pork is showcased on the Porc.Wales website.
“Our philosophy is ‘keep it simple’ and you will see this reflected in everything that we do,” explains Tŷ Siriol’s Suzy Williams. “What started off as a hobby for me and my husband Martyn, turned into a real passion for discovering the source of great tasting pork.”
The smallholding is now a five acre plot with 50 purebred Pedigree Welsh pigs, and is continuing to grow.
Working with the distinctive environment is key to the quality of the produce, according to Suzy and Martyn Williams; “We understand the effect our unique climate and landscape in Wales can have on the quality of our meat and so we move our pigs inside during the winter months to limit the fat on the end product,” says Suzy.
She adds, “Every one of our pigs lives a relaxed and happy life, and this ultimately leads to tastier pork. From keeping our pigs in their sibling groups to using a nearby abattoir, our pigs are moved as little as possible to reduce stress to an absolute minimum.”
At Tŷ Siriol, happy pigs makes for tastier pork; “That’s why, like many Welsh farms, we pride ourselves on the attention and care we are able to give to every one of our animals,” says Suzy.