Hooters Hall

Posts Tagged ‘Pork’

Hooters Hall 2014

For Hooters Hall 2014 was very much the year of the goat. We expanded our herd of angoras and also added some British Guernseys. We also had our first Hooters Hall born kid little Molly.  Sadly we lost the lovely Sugar (one of our Guernseys) but her daughter Spice is doing well and is hopefully pregnant. Here’s Molly 20 minutes after she was born and a few days later meeting Bran one of our farm cats.

Molly wasn’t the only newborn at Hooters Hall. The ducks managed to successfully hatch some eggs and we now have 10 ducks instead of 2. The new ducklings also have some stylish quiffs.

We had a sucessful lambing with our Jacobs and our Jacob fleece is proving very popular with spinners and fibre artists. Here are some of the 2014 lambs and some pictures of fleece hand processed into rolags for spinning, handspun yarn and a hand knitted scarf. The natural colours of the Jacob fleece make a beautiful fabric.

Our rare breed, 100% Gloucestershire Old Spot sausages and burgers were really popular this year and we sold out really quickly ( we’ll have more in the farm shop around April). To keep up with demand we’ve started breeding our own Gloucestershire Old Spot pigs. We have two sows Beatrice and Eugenie. After a visit from Mr Boar Beatrice had her first litter at the end of October and we’ve just weaned the piglets. Here they are having a nap.

Our plans for 2015 include more fibre craft. We’re going to be experimenting with dying our mohair with natural dyes from British native plants grown at Hooters Hall, selling both the dyed fleece and the dye plants in the farm shop. If Spice the Guernsey is pregnant we’ll hopefully have some interesting fleece from her kid. I’ve got my fingers crossed for a fleece with the golden colour of the Guernsey but fibre quality of the Angora.

There will be more 100% Gloucestershire Old Spot pork sausages and burgers all handmade at Hooters Hall and maybe some hams as well. We made some glazed and smoked ham for ourselves this Christmas and it was delicious.

If Spice the Guernsey does have a kid we’ll also have goat milk and will try making some goats cheese.

We’ve got a bit of a change of direction for the polytunnel planned in 2015. We’ve spent the last few weeks planting a variety of fruit trees and soft fruits and we’ll be adding more grapes as well. As well as lots of delicious fruit I’m planning on using parts of the fruit trees, soft fruit as natural dyes for our mohair.

You can keep up to date with Hooters Hall and see lots of pictures of the goats, pigs, ducklings, horses & chickens on our  facebook page www.facebook.com/HootersHall

You can also find HootersHall on instagram and Twitter.

Farm Gate Sales & British Lops

We’ve been selling our rare breed pork at the farm gate and online since February and so far the farm gate sales are going really well. After a flurry of sales over the sunny bank holiday weekend last week we’ve sold out of all of our Gloucestershire Old Spot sausages and burgers. So to keep up with demand we’ve sent our two British Lops gilts off today. We should have the first of the British Lop sausages, burgers and pork ready towards the end of the week so if you fancy some get your order in quick at the Hooters Hall Farm Shop  http://www.hootershall.co.uk/

British Lops were originally from around the Tavistock area. The breed are one of the rarest and is classed as vulnerable by the Rare Breed Survival Trust with just 200-300 registered breeding females in Britain. The only other two breeds with such low numbers are the Large Black and Middle White. The extinction of rare breeds of livestock is a very real risk, we’ve already lost several breeds of pig such as the Cumberland, Lincolnshire Curly Coated, Ulster White, Dorset Gold Tip and Yorkshire Blue.

 As with all rare breed livestock the way to protect them from extinction is to get people eating them again so if you do decide to try some Hooters Hall British Lop burgers and sausages you’ll know that you’re doing your bit to save one of our rarest pig breeds.

Our Lops we’re very easy to manage generally calm and docile. Overall they are an excellent smallholders pig. If you’re interested in finding out more about the British lop have a look at the breed society website  http://www.britishloppig.org.uk/ and facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/British-Lop-Pig-Society/501872219877200?fref=ts

For more information about rare breeds the RBST website  https://www.rbst.org.uk/

And this is what a British lop looks like (they do get a lot bigger)


From field to plate: Hooters Hall Homegrown Pork

This Easter weekend we took delivery of our first homegrown Gloucestershire Old Spot pork. Two of our pigs went to the abattoir a week ago. Although it was our first time we had expert help from Bramblebee Porkers http://www.bramblebeeporkers.co.uk/home%20page.htm, the breeder that we bought our most recent batch of weaners from. Paul from Bramblebee Porkers picked up our pigs on the Sunday, delivered them to the abattoir for us and we collected the butchered pork from him the following Friday.

It was great having someone with experience to help load the pigs. We had decided to separate the two that were going to the abattoir from the rest of the herd the night before. With hindsight we should have done this a week or so earlier to give them chance to get used to the new paddock. On the morning they were due to go they were far more interested in exploring the new paddock than getting into the trailer. Fortunately with the aid of some expert pig boarding we were able to get them into the trailer without too much hassle. I’m sure it would have been a lot more of a challenge if we’d been doing it by ourselves though.

Before the pigs went to the abattoir we had to mark them with our herdmark. We opted for a slapmark rather than ear tags and we bought our slap mark kit from Supplies for Smallholders  https://www.suppliesforsmallholders.co.uk/pig-slapper-inc-character-plate-p-243.html  We also had to register and set up a movement on the electronic movement system eAML2. We had already registered for this and used the system when we bought our latest batch of weaners so it was fairly simple to set up the movement to the abattoir.

We have two abattoirs fairly close to us. If you’re not sure where your nearest abattoir is have a look at the Good Abattoir Guide compiled by Oaklands Pigs http://www.oaklandspigs.co.uk/links/abattoirs/

Our pigs weighed in at 62Kg each and we ended up with 98Kg of pork and 4Kg offal. We had one pig butchered into boned and rolled joints and the other into larger joints on the bone. THe off cuts were made into sausages and we also made one shoulder into sausages ourselves.

Here’s a picture of pur sausage production line.

And the finished product.

We made all the offal into terrines and treated ourselves to a lovely roast.