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Emma Heseltine - 03 February 2013

This week I’m taking my last two pigs to the abattoir. I’m sure it’s going to be just as sad as the last time, but this time I’m hoping they are bigger and so provide more delicious food than the previous one. My mistake last time was not to weigh my pig so this time I’m getting it organised. John and I fetch the lamb weigher over from Wallace Field and get them in the pens. As the pigs have been moved a couple of times now they are quite used to getting in the trailer for a little ride, its not difficult with a bit of a treat (a couple of carrots).

Getting them in the weigher is a different matter. Amble the larger pig (and my favourite, I know I shouldn’t get attached but what can you do?) doesn’t mind getting in for the price of half a cabbage. Although she complains when I lift the handle to weigh her and the platform wobbles about. Albie (who has bitten me four times) is not so keen. In the end it takes three of us and I have to push her in to the weigher. They are strong and it’s not easy to move them if they don’t want to go, not a bit like sheep. Turns out they are 67kg and 63kg, which I think is a fairly respectable weight.

Before I know its time to load them up and take them to Lockerbie. I’ve tagged them already (they make no fuss about this, surprisingly) and negotiated the minefield of movement paperwork and have borrowed a trailer and the Landrover as my car died at Christmas. A few people have come to say goodbye to the pigs, they have gained a fan club in the last month with their cheeky attitudes and escaping antics. I said my goodbye the night before and told them what good pigs they were.

They go in the trailer no bother and off we go. Being such friendly and sociable pigs they are yelling at us to come out and say hello when we arrive and they happily follow Stevie the abattoir guy into their pen where there are many interesting piggy smells. I hope they aren’t too aware of what’s going on, I know how smart they are. Stevie reckons they are a good size and a great improvement on my last pig, always nice to hear. I get away quite quick and there is a tear for them; they have bitten me, escaped, yelled at me and made me fall over on my bum in the mud. They have also delighted me and had me in fits of laughter more times than I can remember. They’ve been good pigs and I’ve enjoyed trying to outsmart them (I mostly lost).

The rest of the week I’m somewhat blindsided by not having to arrange my days around feeding my pigs, it’s a shock to no longer own stock. I will however shortly be in possession of a large quantity of the finest pig meat know to man. Then perhaps I can reinvest in some more pigs. Anyone know of some weaners for sale in the Cumbria area…? What wonderful creatures they are, I’ve got the pig bug I think.  

Emma completed a degree in Creative Imaging at Huddersfield University before working for a photography studio as an editor. Taking a break from the office world she worked in outdoor education for several years, climbing, abseiling, shooting, trampolining and even life-guarding with children of all ages. When Emma found out about the apprenticeship scheme with the Soil Association it seemed the perfect chance to do something worthwhile and fulfilling. After much searching and badgering farms in the North of England she found a position with Hadrian Organics and started in July 2011. So far it is living up to her expectations, every day is a new challenge and every day is different.

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Charles, in London
23 February 2013 19:15

Just had roast loin from one of them, and it was delicious. Great crackling too...

Emma Heseltine
18 February 2013 21:06

I'm getting the Bacon this friday, I've got you down for a packet! I might just bring some to the seminar too...

15 February 2013 13:04

Hope it went well. Can I put in an order for a pack of bacon?Rachel x

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