Lane Farm Country Foods
Lane Farm, Brundish, Woodbridge, Suffolk, IP13 8BW
Contact: Sue and Ian Whitehead by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
or by telephone: 01379 384593
For ordering individual products online
To download and print order form to send by post
Last order date for Christmas 2012 - 1st December- subject to availability .
There is nothing flashy about Ian and Sue Whitehead’s Lane Farm business. They don’t have a designer logo or a PR agency, they never enter sausage-making competitions – they don’t even have the company name on their vans. Their gammon, sausages and pork are similarly subtle, with an old-fashioned quality that, says Ian, is down to healthy, unstressed pigs fed a pure diet, and pork that is properly hung. (Of course, pork does not going on improving the way beef will, but Ian and Sue believe that a few days at a thoroughly safe 35.6ºF/2ºC develops flavour and texture.)
Pig farming is a notorious boom-and-bust business, and in the early Nineties the couple spotted trouble but, instead of getting out quickly, they took a huge risk and decided to sell quality pork through East Anglian farm shops and farmers’ markets. For a small farm business, they have developed a big range: whole bone-in gammons; cooked hams; smoked collar joints – an absolute Delia favourite and one of the stars of How to Cook Book Three; pork ribs for summer barbecuing; a special Suffolk Boozy Bacon for Christmas, made with local beer and treacle; joints of fresh pork; and sausages by the country mile.
Ian, chief bacon curer and sausage maker, has learned by trial and error. ‘When you are starting out, no one wants to tell you anything, at least in terms of how to make the really good stuff; there are plenty willing to sell you additives and fillers.’ His high meat content, natural casings and additive-free bangers include Sue’s family recipe, Suffolk Farmhouse. (Sue was a farmer’s daughter and Ian is an ex-townie.)
Their base is in Brundish in Suffolk where they fatten gilts (young female pigs) born on a friend’s outdoor pig unit that looks across to the beach at Southwold. When the pigs transfer to Lane Farm, they are kept in large barns on straw and fed on natural cereals so that they grow more slowly. They are slaughtered that bit older, at six to seven months. ‘That is one way we score over the supermarkets – their pork is very young,’ says Ian.
The Whiteheads are immune to any temptation to go for growth by selling to the multiples. ‘I enjoy delivering to the local farm shops, arranging our produce and chatting to the customers,’ says Sue. However there is a slight danger their name may be getting known, what with Delia putting their gammon steaks and Cumberland sausages on the menu at Norwich City Football Club, the mail-order business growing and Anglia Railways selecting their Suffolk Farmhouse banger for the breakfast menu (don’t groan, Anglia does a jolly decent breakfast). But Ian and Sue are not losing any of their natural modesty. ‘You are only as good as your last sausage,’ they say in unison. That seems to be the family motto.
Our way: ‘My parents always eat cold collar of bacon on Christmas morning. This is the one morning my father does not get a fry-up because Mum is busy with the turkey. It’s a good start to the day and it gives the cook a break.’ Sue Whitehead
Place your order for Christmas
NOTE: Last order dates for Christmas 2010: 1 December 2012 (subject to availability)
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