Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Gentlemen Pay for Their Keep; Environment Today Environment Editor Tony Henderson on One Way of Bringing Home the Bacon

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Gentlemen Pay for Their Keep; Environment Today Environment Editor Tony Henderson on One Way of Bringing Home the Bacon

Article excerpt

Byline: Tony Henderson

PIGS were once kept by most rural families and in many an urban backyard.

They were so important to the family's economy that the pig was generally known as "the gentleman who pays the rent."

Now, with waiting lists for allotments across the North-East and increasing numbers of plot holders keeping poultry, the next step for a growing number of people is to keep a pig.

So says Sarah Dodds, 38, who raises Tamworth pigs at Yearle Farm near Wooler in Northumberland.

She is offering courses in pig keeping to cater for the increasing interest.

The TV show The Good Life enjoyed poking fun at suburban efforts at self sufficiency. But Sarah says: "It's not a sniggering topic now. More and more people are interested in keeping a couple of pigs. They may have a smallholding or a larger garden. The number of young pigs I sell is going up steadily, year on year."

A young pig bought in May can be ready by Christmas, with the resulting hams, bacon, sausages, roasting and stewing joints.

"It will feed you over the winter and you can even eat the trotters and cheeks if you want," says Sarah.

"There is a lifestyle element. It's about having a go yourself and I sell quite a lot of pigs to people who have bigger gardens."

Properly kept, pigs do not pose any particular problem, says Sarah. "They are very clean animals."

The red-haired Tamworths are believed to be the oldest indigenous pig species in Britain.

Sarah's interest in Tamworths goes back 18 years when she brought four youngsters back to Northumberland in the back of her car after graduating from Cirencester's Royal Agricultural College.

They were the start of her current Yearle herd of pedigree Tamworth pigs.

"Over the years I have built up a herd that I am very proud of.

"Tamworths are certainly full of character which makes them all the more fun to work with," says Sara h. …

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