Coopers Oxford Pork is a small family run business based at North Farm, Shillingford. Their rare breed bacon, sausages and pork can be bought every week at the Saturday Market. Jane tells us more about how they started out and why.
As we hack our way through the ice on the water troughs on a freezing cold day or fill the troughs up with water for the 3rd time only to have them tipped over yet again on a hot summer’s day, we wonder why we chose pigs.
The answer probably is in the fact that we are helping to conserve this rare breed, providing them with a natural woodland environment. In return they provide us and our customers with fantastic quality pork.
We started with 5 weaner porkers just to see how we got on; we now have over 30 breeding sows, 5 breeding boars and many followers to make a herd of 200, all living happily in woodland owned by the Earth Trust.
Pigs are a 365 day commitment, unlike other farm animals they give birth all year round; the sows have 2 litters a year, each litter averages 10/12 piglets. As they are in woodland water has to be brought in by hand as there is no running water making feeding and watering twice a day time consuming and physical.
We chose the Oxford Sandy & Black Pig partly because it originated in Oxfordshire, it is a good all round pig producing quality pork and bacon, we like the varied colourings you can get in a litter and they are relatively easy to handle, unless it’s feed time, I have been knocked over many times in the rush and Mark has only been bitten once by a boar!
We have been coming to Sandford for almost three years, at first selling ourselves and latterly bringing the meat to be sold by the market volunteers to whom we are extremely grateful, in fact I think more is sold when it’s not us!
We are looking forward to the completion of the village hall and the next phase of the market. In the future we want to promote an ordering system as well as continuing to provide a regular supply of pork.
And so…why pigs? We like what we do and wouldn’t change it for the world.
If you would like to pre-order any pork for collection at the Saturday Market, you can contact Jane directly on firstname.lastname@example.org