Above you see a group of piglets belonging to a friend of mine. They are part of a much bigger group of piglets, 40 in all, that were born recently. When they get a bit older and bigger they will become the most excellent pork. Why am I telling you this? Well today I ate some of the bacon that was made from these little piggies’ cousins. It was the tastiest, most delicious bacon I’ve had since the last time I was at the farm. This time, though, I had the bacon at my place.
The breed is Large Black, they are an English breed of pig, and are part of the rare breed revival movement. The farm they are on is also a leader in the transparency and ethical food production movement, an area that is gaining a foothold in the Australian farming landscape. I don’t know much about the whole history or even the reach of all of this but I do know that I love knowing the farmer and seeing the farm where I get my meat from.
I’ve spent many a happy hour at the farm, watching the sows and their piglets, hearing stories of Elvis’ way with the ladies (I’ve not actually seen this but the kids are fairly reliable witnesses), trying to tempt the cattle to eat the grass out of my hand and enjoying great food and conversation with the family that run the joint. If you haven’t heard of Jonai Farms, then I suggest you look them up, they’re doing great stuff, but this isn’t an ad for them, more a celebration of bacon.
Oh, the bacon I ate today was cooked until it was crispy but not brittle. The smoky flavours were subtle, the lack of nitrites welcomingly noticable. I paired it with two fried eggs from our own hens (secret egg stash was found) and spread a bit of our smoked, salted butter (oh yeah) onto toast. The breakfast was devoured but not so quickly that I didn’t give thanks to the animals that helped bring this deliciousness to my mouth.
I confess that I enjoyed this pleasure all by myself. The wife was off galavanting around the countryside (fighting fires and waiting to fight fires) and didn’t get back until after breakfast. I may have to get up early tomorrow and make her a breaky of ethical excellence to say thank you.