Hairdresser-turned-shepherdess, Zoë Colville farms nearly 100 acres of land near Maidstone with her partner, Chris Woodhead. With prime focus on their animals’ wellbeing, together they rear cows, sheep, goats and pigs, eventually selling their meat through The Little Farm Fridge. This month, Zoe challenges her idealistic childhood view of pigs
As a young girl I was obsessed with pigs. Pig mugs, watching Babe, Percy Pigs… you name it. So you can imagine my joy at the ripe old age of thirty when Chris said we were getting some pigs. We would rear them to eventually go through the shop. I was worried about getting too attached seeing as my childhood dreams were playing out, but I needn’t have worried. Firstly when I went to pet one it snapped at me, literally like a crocodile in the wildlife programmes and, secondly, I watched one devour an apple from one of the trees and the pure strength in its jaw made me stand open-mouthed for a good ten seconds after he had swallowed. From that moment I realised that the imaginary Pinterest board in my mind – becoming best pals and putting flower crowns on them and getting cute photos – wasn’t realistic and I should give up that pipedream. I have now developed a new type of respect for these powerful and intelligent creatures.
What I have found incredible is how smart and surprisingly clean they are. For a start they pretty much only go to the loo in one designated place in the pen, which I’ve never seen happen with other domesticated animals.
Pigs’ eyes are very much like humans, too, even the iciest blue or grey, which when you get them back from the abattoir can be rather disconcerting. In actual fact we are extremely similar genetically to pigs in many ways – before plastic practise skin was developed, people used to learnt the art of tattooing on waste pig skin as it’s supposedly so similar to humans.
We shall take our pigs to the abattoir at around 70-80kg, which is a fair size when you compare it to the lambs who weigh about 40-45kg when they go. I hope this time we can try to make some pork scratchings because, well, we’re rather partial to a pork scratching! I’ve found it quite remarkable how many people ask us for more unusual cuts such as the trotters and also the cheeks – both of which I am yet to sample myself.
I shall keep you updated on how our pigs are getting on with us, hopefully they’ll get more fond of me as time goes on and maybe even pose for that elusive photo.
The Little Farm Fridge Recipe of the month
How to cook it… The Little Farm Fridge Breakfast Brioche.
- The Little Farm Fridge Breakfast Burgers
- free-range eggs
- brioche buns
- cheddar cheese
- 5tbsp tomato ketchup
- 1tbsp brown sugar
- 1tsp Lea & Perrins
- crushed chilli flakes to taste
- avocado (optional)
- Firstly add your ketchup, brown sugar, Lea & Perrins and crushed chilli flakes into a small bowl and mix well to make your spicy relish.
- Heat up a frying pan with a little butter and fry your breakfast burgers. Once they are cooked, leave them to cool slightly and fry your eggs in the pan, plenty of black pepper on the yolk.
- Melt your cheese onto the top of your brioche bun in the grill – for optional naughtiness you can brush both sides of the bun with butter before grilling.
- Stack your burger up and enjoy! (I sometimes substitute the cheese with avocado if I’m pretending to be healthier)
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