Porc from Wales Week (24 – 30 January) is an annual celebration of artisan producers and retailers that specialise in breeding and supplying high quality porc and porc products, from traditional Welsh sausages to Italian style charcuterie.
With a ‘How far is your fork from our porc’ theme this year, leading figures from Welsh food such as broadcasters Samantha Evans and Shauna Guinn of Hang Fire Southern Kitchen fame, and a host of food bloggers from Wales, will be showcasing the very best of locally sourced porc and where consumers can buy it from.
Experts in their field
Wales is home to small-scale and artisan porc producers specialising in creating a unique, hand-reared product; a consequence of this is that it is often only available to buy directly from the producer or local independent shops, like butchers.
How food is produced and the impact it has on the environment have increasingly become important factors for consumers in recent years. For generations, Welsh farmers have played a pivotal role in creating and maintaining the rural landscapes that we know and love, both physically and culturally.
The importance of the farming and agricultural industry to the economic wellbeing of communities across Wales is highlighted by research showing that for every one pound spent locally with an SME, up to 70 pence circulates back into the local economy.
The industry is currently a growing one in Wales with an increasing number of producers starting a new business and research has shown that 2021 sales of pork products UK-wide (fresh and frozen, cuts and processed) were 15% higher than in 2019.
Kyle Holford and Lauren Smith of Forest Coalpit Farm said:
“We’ve found that since the start of the pandemic people are more inclined to buy locally. It’s just that sense of achievement and pride that you get when all your hard work is ready for people to buy and enjoy. That sense of community matters to us because and I’m sure that our customers would feel that too knowing they had given something back to the community.
“I think it’s all down to the fact that because our supply chain is short, our customers are confident that their meat hasn’t been traipsed all around the country. There is also a personal touch to our offer. We believe that attention to detail during the entire production process, whether that’s breeding, rearing, caring for our pigs and feeding them a soya-free diet is key to our success.
“Our ‘Welsh Black” pigs live happily outdoors in woodland and pasture in the Brecon Beacons National Park. With a free range existence, within a small-scale herd, we believe his stress-free environment really does make a difference to our customers. Knowing that the animal has had access to fresh air and plenty of room to roam is a huge selling point.”
When Hang Fire met Scott Quinnell
To celebrate Porc from Wales Week, Sam and Shauna will be showing rugby legend Scott Quinnell how to cook porc ‘tomahawks’ with West Indian salsa verde, sweet potato steaks and jerk porc bonbons.
Sam Evans of the Hang Fire duo said:
“We’re delighted to be part of this year’s Porc from Wales Week. We’re all about cooking fresh, local, quality ingredients, with excellent sustainability credentials, so really, porc ticks all our boxes!
“We’ve created this amazing dish of porc tomahawks with a West Indian salsa verde and Scott Quinnell is going to help us make the dish in an exclusive masterclass. We’ll show you (and Scott!) how easy it is to prepare and cook porc and introduce you to some exciting flavours.
“What makes porc so special is that it’s so easy to cook with. We love cooking porc on the BBQ, but we’re excited to show you (and Scott) how you get the best from this fantastic produce in your own kitchen. You can get some cracking results from porc, and people shouldn’t be afraid to experiment with flavours. And it’s not just about bangers on the barbie; porc is great for roasting, frying, stir-frying and slow cooking. So, why not pop to your local butcher’s shop or your local pork producer and ask your butcher for some delicious porc. You won’t be disappointed!”
The market experts’ perspective
Rhys Llywelyn, Market Development Manager at Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales, added:
“Giving our local economy a much needed boost has been paramount during the past couple of years. However, our farmers, food producers and retail businesses in Wales have demonstrated unwavering resilience and determination to keep our porc industry thriving, and indeed, to see it advance from strength to strength.
“Porc from Wales Week is a fantastic celebration of an exceptional product, but without all the effort of those involved in the supply chain, it wouldn’t be as special. I believe a new perspective on shopping has dawned, with consumers either ordering their porc directly from the producer or visiting their local butcher’s shop.
“I hope that this easier, environmentally friendly and economically beneficial way of shopping will stay with us for years to come. But it’s down to the consumer to consciously choose this as the ‘norm’ and not merely regard it as a trend or out of necessity, due to the changes in our daily lives over the past couple of years.”
Also supporting Porc from Wales Week, Menter Moch Cymru helps develop the pig industry in Wales, providing assistance, training and advice to producers and other businesses in the sector.
Melanie Cargill, Menter Moch Project Manager, said:
“It’s encouraging to see such a buzz around the pig industry in Wales and Porc from Wales Week is an excellent way to showcase our exciting industry. Every pork producer has their own unique story to tell and it’s brilliant to see consumers appreciating all the hard work, skill and commitment that goes into creating such an exceptional product.
“We have a unique product, here in Wales, that’s packed with flavour and wonderfully versatile. That’s why you’ll see our porc producers experimenting and creating some innovative products, elevating porc to the next level. And what makes it even better is the fact that this amazing product is just on our doorstep!”
Menter Moch Cymru is funded by the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.