The tradition of dry salting and home rearing of pigs has been passed through the family for generations. The animals are raised outdoors on a natural diet without antibiotics or growth promoters and take at least 8 months to fully mature. This age is essential for the meat to develop the true flavour and texture which is needed. The active outdoor environment helps the slow of all the muscles and in particular that superb marbling of fat you get with this hardy rare breed pigs,
The farm is 30 acres and Peter Gott has 26 saddle back pigs (currently). He also has wild boar and sheep on site. Peter is passionate about sausage making and the quality of his produce. He doesn't use emulsified by-products of the meat base; instead using what he calls "the red bits" (other larger manufacturers use gristle and skin etc to make up the minimum meat content that is required to make a sausage). He is petitioning DEFRA for a PDI (product designation indication) for Cumberland Sausages, so that they must contain a minimum of 90% meat - as per the recipes in Mrs Beeton's book - where it states that sausages should contain no rind or gristle. He still uses only natural skins for his products. He has recently switched to an electric machine to help with the sausage making but he still has the old hand sausage machine set up in a theatre area of his farm buildings.
Peter's from generations of farmers, growing up on his mother's farm where they kept poultry and his grandfather was a publican who farmed Cumberland pigs. He bought Sillfield farm 21 years ago when it wasn’t a working farm, with the intention of making a small scale food producing farm. In the last 10 years he has begun to produce food products and now the farm employs 12 local people.
What a character, Peter is one of the funniest guys I have ever met; working on the pork film was great fun. I also found out that Les Salisbury (see shrimps) are great mates, they are like peas out of a pod, great Cumbrian sense of timing and humour.
Peter’s pigs are the very happy, they live outside, they eat real food, they love Peter (can’t think why) and have a great life.
The downside of that is that they are not pets they are a living, and Peter is fully aware of that, although he did tell me that he does sometimes shed a tear for his favourites.
His product list is amazing, from the best Cumberland sausage I have tasted, and I lived in Cumbria for 5 years to air dried Cumberland hams and mutton. Theses products rival almost anything I have tasted from Italy or Spain. He is passionate about his craft and since I met Peter I have started to cure my own ham and bacon. His enthusiasm is very infectious.
His products are sold on not only their unique taste, but also on the pig’s welfare and upbringing, all as important to Peter than making a profit. Something that you rarely hear of these days.
Dear Christine, Peter’s wife makes all the pies and very good they are to. The day we filmed she not only cooked us a fab breakfast with Peter’s bacon and sausages, then made 200 pies. She told me she got roped into it after she told Peter she could cook when they first met………..I did feel sorry for her, still she seemed to love her part in a very successful business.
My enduring memory of Peter was when Jo our director complained about the light rain, getting her hair wet, Peter said to her ‘This isn’t rain…its piss, eh Phil’
Sillfield farm Endmoor, Kendal, CuMbria, LA8 0HZ
t: +44 (0)15395 67609 w: www.sillfield.co.uk