Day 7 – We LOVE the Saddleback Sausage!

I have always hankered after having a large, fat pig and Mark & I collected our first two Saddleback sows, from Pickering and in pig, in 1992, soon after we were married.  Saddleback pigs are a native British breed, named for the large white “saddle” that stretched round a plump black back. They are naturally hardy, usually docile and very good mothers. Saddleback pigs are on the Rare Breeds Survival Trust’s ‘at risk’ register – although back in 1992 the situation for the breed was far less rosy and Saddlebacks were a priority for saving from extinction.  Back in the good old days of the 1990s we turned most of the pork that we produced from the offspring of “Badger” and “Otter” into sausages, with the help of Steve Dix of Castleside.  These sausages were so delicious that we have never changed the recipe and when we opened the Farm Shop in 2004 this was the first product that we made. At our first “Charity Lambing Open Day” in 2004 we gave away packs of Saddleback sausages to everyone that came up to see us, in return for their postal address (this was before the days of the email!).  The feedback was amazing, people wanted more of these sausages and this set us on our way.  Saddleback sausages are a meaty, plain pork sausage and a firm favourite with youngsters and oldies alike, they are so versatile. The same recipe is used for sausagemeat and stuffings at Christmas and in those yummy sausage rolls. 

All our sows (mothers)  – we have about 20 – are Saddlebacks, and we currently have a white boar as well as a Saddleback boar. Saddlebacks are naturally pretty fatty, which some customers don’t like, so the cross breeding with the white boars gives our customers choice… those that like all that fat that makes the world’s best crackling can have it, and those that prefer something a little leaner are happy too! When we first started we knew very little – with no idea how to cure bacon, cut up a pig or make black pudding.  With the guidance of Steve Dix, Geoff & Stuart Hodgkiss and then Michael Coates, we learned so much.  Mark and I used to make the sausages in the evenings “after work” and I can remember having the children up in the shop with us, stretched out on camp beds in their sleeping bags watching Tellytubby videos whilst we churned out sausages and linked them together, ready for our Friday shop opening.  We have made many, many different flavours of sausage since that time and love to try new recipes, but Saddleback sausages remain our favourite and the best seller today, in both the farm shop and coffee shop. 

Unlike most sausages you will buy, we also only use old fashioned, natural sheep and pork casings, they are much harder to work with but this is part of what makes the difference, as these skins melt in the mouth.  Sausages are a great product, as they help us use the whole carcass and ensure nothing goes to waste.