Happy Pigs

A highlight of local farmers' market has to be the stall run by the Happy Pig Company.

It offers delicious sausages made to traditional French recipes using pork from free range organically raised animals - so local they hail from Herbrand Walk.

This is the dream of Keith Beard and Andrew Dyer-Wright who gave up their day jobs two years ago and set about raising pigs with the idea of creating perfectly wholesome food.

They keep only rare breeds such as Gloucester Old Spot, British Saddleback, and Large Cornish Back, and at present have 10 breeding sows and two pedigree boars as well as quite a few piglets.

Keith and Andrew also have three Kune Kune pigs from New Zealand - the word means 'short and fat' in Maori, and well describes the breed which became almost extinct in its homeland but has been successfully re-established by rare breed keepers in England.

"All our pigs are organically raised," said Keith.

"We do not use antibiotics on our animals whatsoever, we use homeopathic or herbal remedies only. They are kept organically and are pure - there's no antibiotics, no GM feeds, it is all completely natural."

The pair began selling meat to friends but soon realised they wanted to go a step further and make their own sausages using top quality fresh organic ingredients such as leek and onion and avoiding any suggestion of preservatives or fillers.

The work paid off - they have recently been approved by the World Cancer Research Fun because the product contains no sulphur nitrate whatsoever.

They now make Breton sausages, Normandy sausages and are soon to start producing a Toulouse sausage of the type that goes into cassoulets.

"A number of people were asking us if we would do sausages like they have in France - so we went there. We toured around Northern France and eventually hit upon the classic little French man in his charcuterie. After about four hours drinking Armanac, he finally gave us his recipes for genuine French sausages".

So far The Happy Pig Company has been selling from Little Common and Bexhill farmers' market, but recent success at the Heathfield Show saw Keith sold out of 1,000 worth of stock by 2pm and faced with an afternoon of relaxing with a glass or two of cider.

"We need to expand now. We have got to the point where perhaps we are breaking even, and we now need to go to the next step where we make money out of it. It has taken a lot of money to set up the pig farm and now it is a matter of finding outlets to increase our product. That is what we are about."

The Happy Pig Company will be attending the next Little Common Farmers' Market at St Martha's church hall on Thursday from 9-12midday.

For further details or to make orders call 07840 063648, or email on keith@happypigcompany.co.uk