Eight of us spent an electricity-free weekend on a farm greeting free-ranging piglets and making communal breakfast from the farm’s fresh eggs (and guess where the bacon came from). A year ago, I wouldn’t have eaten pork or thought spending a weekend on a pig-raising farm was going to be so much fun. I have a childhood memory of seeing my first live pig at an Illinois Country Fair. The hog walked around a small ring and then laid lazily on his side until people voted on what colour ribbon he would receive. He could have been related to a rhino and I was mesmerised by his size and demeanour. This time around, I was mesmerised by healthy active pigs in their free-ranging environment.
In the Hemel-and-Aarde Valley, on Glen Oakes farm, we walked along the paths and dirt roads that wove through the pig’s grazing range. We stopped by the fence to get a closer look at the tubby mammals and two large female pigs boldly came up to greet us. “You’d think they like their ears scratched but they love their eyes to be tickled” Julie explained, the owner of Glen Oakes Farm. At the main house, Julie tallied and weighed our choices of Richard Bosman charcuterie, “You’ll see that the coppa is so well marbled which is due to our pigs having lots of space and room to roam around.” It was the first time I was on a pig farm, witnessing the condition of the pig’s home, meeting the chocolate brown breeding boar, Major, and then consuming the charcuterie made from the raised pig’s at the Glen Oakes farm. Here’s more on the free-range to charcuterie story.
It was a fascinating full food cycle that turned the weekend into a foodie affair. We roamed right back to the stone cottage with our basket of charcuterie, waving past the piglets and female pigs and made a platter of the chorizo, fennel sausage, cheese and artisan breads in front of the fire. We were truly consuming ethical charcuterie, except for our vegetarian Inge who proclaimed her clear conscious to all of us:) She took beautiful pictures of the surroundings with medium format film.
Our foodie night affair commenced with Three bean Raw Cilantro Salsa, Garlic Artisan Ciabatta, Butternut Soup, Fillet with Tomato Balsamic Relish and a handmade Lemon Tart.
Breakfast was a mosaic of fresh fruit, grapefruit-orange cocktail to quench, farm scrambled eggs, slow roasted cherry tomatoes and rye bread from jason bakery. Sixteen hands all contributed to fabulous feasts of farm fresh produce. A love for slow homemade food was celebrated and spoke a language of appreciation for communal meals shared by friends, chew by chew. Glen Oakes Guest Farm was also an inspiration and a positive example of how ethical food practices are an essential element to our food democracy.