Acorn-fed rare breed 'New Forest Pannage Ham' SPECIAL EDITION this is the 2022 Vintage and is now available for the VERY first time this year. This year's vintage release is in very limited supply but we managed to secure this very special meat in the Autumn of 2022 in what is described as a 'mast year' with a surplus of acorns and beech mast for happy pigs to gorge themselves on.
The last time that the oak trees produced such quantities of acorns (2020) the Pannage season was extended by 5 weeks longer than normal. The pigs gorged themselves and the flavour of that ham was truly wonderful!
The very limited stocks of the 2022 vintage New Forest Pannage Ham will only be available for sale on-line and when it’s gone, it’s gone!
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 several farmers in the New Forest, including Hockey's Farm near Fordingbridge, who release their rare-breed British Lop pigs into the New Forest during the Pannage season. The pigs can roam for several miles, 'hoovering' up acorns as they go.
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. The ham won a GOLD award in the 2021 Taste of the West Awards giving us, and our staff, even more to be proud of. There is a limited amount available and when it’s gone, it’s gone.