Acorn-fed rare breed 'New Forest Pannage Ham' SPECIAL EDITION is a 2020 Vintage which was a special Mast Year. This means that the oak trees produced HUGE quantities of acorns so Pannage was extended by 5 weeks more than normal. The pigs gorged themselves and all the acorns have definitely affected the flavour of this wonderful ham – it is REALLY GOOD!
We have very limited stocks of this wonderful ham available for sale. Here are some more details;
In 1079 William the Conqueror founded the New Forest as a Royal Hunting Forest and the people living there had severe restrictions put on about what they were allowed to do. They were however granted a few rights to graze their animals in the Forest; these included Common of Pasture (the right to turn out cattle, ponies, donkeys, and mules to graze), and Common of Mast which is the right to turn out pigs in the Forest during the Pannage season (autumn). These rights continue to this day.
Pannage is very important: the pigs eat ‘free’ food and put on lots of weight and, most importantly, the acorns and green beech mast is poisonous to cattle and horses. Without Pannage many ponies and cows would be poisoned. Pannage used to take place all over the country but now the only place left where it still happens is the New Forest and only about 600 pigs are released into the Forest for Pannage each autumn.
The diet of acorns and beech mast makes a real difference to the flavour of the pork – it has all the wonderful taste associated with the best Spanish acorn-fed pork, and as you would expect also makes delicious Air-Dried Ham.
We have been working with Hockeys Farm near Fordingbridge who release their rare-breed British Lop pigs into the New Forest during the Pannage season and the hams made with their pork are now ready for sale.
We are very proud of this special air-dried ham and we believe that it is the only acorn-fed air-dried ham made in this country. There is a limited amount available and when it’s gone, it’s gone. The good news is that we are already working on the hams from the 2020 Pannage Season and it will be released for sale in early 2022. The 2020 Pannage Season was excellent because of the bumper crop of acorns and beech mast; in fact, the season which is normally only 60 days long was extended by a further 7 weeks, so the pigs really gorged themselves!
We do not yet have the labels printed for the New Forest Pannage Ham but wanted to make it available for sale as soon as possible – we will also definitely be entering it into the 2022 Great Taste Awards!