St Martin’s Day: a celebration of the pig

11th November is Armistice day. It is also St Martin’s Day.

Traditionally in Europe, this was the first day when farmers, smallholders and peasants would kill a pig which they had been fattening up throughout the summer months.

The pigs had gorged themselves on roots, windfall apples, chestnuts, acorns and whatever was plentiful for them to eat.

York ham butchers boxThe weather by this time is cool, so the pork could be cured in cellars and pantries without the fear of it going sour before the salt had chance to take.

It is still a ritual and sometimes a festival in many villages across Europe. It is a celebration, a feast and a practical way of preserving the meat whilst it is plentiful, so that the family can feed during the cold winter months.

The main product of this is of course hams, bacon and salamis.

Modern hams and bacon are not cured with the intention of preserving and hanging for months in a cool cellar, but we still produce York hams which we hang for 100 days.

The salting and drying process gives it a firmer texture and is more salty than the everyday ham. The flavour develops like a good cheese or wine with ageing.

We have a limited number of 100 day aged York hams which are currently in the maturing stage and will be ready for Christmas.

Just the best quality you can wish for.

— Sarah, via facebook