A day at Jimmy’s Farm

jimmyMonday 18th February was a very special day for me as it was my first loan British Family experience. I had been invited to visit Jimmy’s Farm owned and run by Jimmy Doherty. I was to join 3 other blogging families to learn more about the latest campaign by Red Tractor to encourage people to ‘Give a fork about your pork’. http://www.channel4.com/explore/giveafork/download (1)

The day started out rather badly as Southern Railway were, as always, having ‘issues’ and my train was cancelled. However with a lot of running and the odd elbow here and there I got onto the 11:38 train to Ipswich and I was off. The journey was uneventful and I was delighted to meet one of the organisers at the station and get off to the farm.

The farm is very well signposted (in case you were thinking of visiting) and we arrived to a lovely warm cup of tea and a delicious home baked biscuit. I was greeted by Jimmy and I was very glad to see that the really nice guy that you see on the telly is actually even nicer in person. He was very relaxed and seemed really pleased to meet all the different groups of people.

Wellies were donned by all and we were off to look around the farm and learn more about how Red Tractor works. We were shown the petting area and the playground first, something I know Lucan would have loved. Jimmy told us that to be part of Red Tractor pig farmers have to agree to 130 different specifications and be prepared to be inspected by a vet 4 times a year with another visit as a surprise. When the vets visit all the paperwork and traceability is checked, something that with the horse meat scandal in the fore of our minds at the moment is key for consumer to trust the meat.

The Red Tractor does not mean that the meat has to be farmed in a particular way and Jimmy specialises in rare breed, slow growing pigs that are low intensity farmed. Other farmers use the Red Tractor and farm in different ways. It absolutely depends on what you want from your pork but buying the Red Tractor means that you know exactly where your pork has come from.

Jimmy showed us some piglets with their mum and explained to the children how the Tamworth mummy had met a Gloucester Old Spot daddy and so the piglets have characteristics of both pigs. He explained to us about the system he uses to keep the pigs which allows him to move the pigs easily and quickly from one pen to another.

Once the walk was over it was time to go and meet Jimmy’s dad to watch him section up half a pig carcass. This is another part of the ‘Give a fork about your pork’ campaign. Most of us who eat pork know very little about the range of cuts that should be available at any good supermarket or butcher. The aim of the campaign is to show us how diverse a pig can be when it comes to cooking. We prize the sirloin in a cow but did you know that a pig too has a sirloin? I didn’t until yesterday. Did you know that 20 years ago the pork belly was only used in sausages and now the belly and the ribs are as valuable as the chops?

After all the chopping and walking it was time for lunch. What more could we ask for than beautifully roasted pork with apple sauce, new potatoes and braised red cabbage. It was simply fantastic and even the crackling had a proper crackle. Lunch provided a great opportunity to talk to Jimmy and the other bloggers about what they do and their thoughts about all things British. Jimmy asked us how often we all eat Sunday lunch and I must admit in the Bradshaw household it is not quite a weekly occurrence  I wonder if this is normal across Britain and maybe why we don’t seem to think about where our food comes from? Could the horse meat scandal be the turning point to get us back around the table on a Sunday?

Last thing of the day was a quick bit of shopping in the superb farm shop on the farm and then the photo call for us all.

It really was a fantastic day and I am very very grateful for the opportunity to share it with the great people I met. More than this I think it has given me something else to look for and back as the Red Tractor really seems to be an inclusive and well set up scheme. We are not huge pork eaters normally but I have to say this has really shown me so many benefits I would be dopey not to make it a regular part of our week.

Whether its bacon, sausages, gammon, chops, loin, leg, shoulder or anything else make sure your pork is Red Tractor so you know that what you are eating is safe and checked and more than anything really tasty 😀download (2)


– Emily





























4 times a year and then have a surprise visit too

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