Success for Peelham’s pigs at top industry awards

Peelham Farm have won 'Pig Producer of the Year' at the 2014 Pig and Poultry Marketing Awards 2014
Peelham Farm have won 'Pig Producer of the Year' at the 2014 Pig and Poultry Marketing Awards 2014

Peelham Farm, near Foulden, is no stranger to plaudits, having been recognised by numerous industry experts.

This time it’s the pigs which have brought home the bacon.

Peelham picked up the accolade for Pig Producer of the Year at the e 2014 Pig and Poultry Marketing Awards, held in London last week.

The awards body declared the Borders business as very worthy winners of its category with a press release stating: “Peelham Farm’s unique ‘adopt-a-pork’ scheme and consumer engagement is what made this entry truly outstanding for our judges.

“They go the extra mile by investing in knowledge and feeding techniques, recently getting involved in research with the University of Newcastle.

“This means that they can continue teaching consumers about the benefits of al-fresco farming.”

The award win was the perfect boost for owners Chris and Denise Walton before they went on holiday.

Speaking from France she was justifiably thrilled and said it was a great reward for the hard work she, Chris, partner Amanda Cayley and their staff had put in.

“It was the organisers themselves who approached us to enter,” she explained.

“They were quite persistent. We weren’t sure if we were considered a big enough firm to enter, but they said they were looking at smaller producers.

“We sent them some information over with how we’ve invested in our infrastructure and the investments we’ve made in getting specialist advice.

“We never expected to win, so we’re delighted and it’s testament to the effort we’ve all put in.

“We always take great pride in our product.”

Denise believes one of the deciding factors in Peelham’s win was the lengths it goes to improve the consumer engagement side of the business.

“Our customers can engage with process right from the beginning to the making and tasting of the sausages.

“It helps them to fully understand what’s involved in pig farming.”

Peelham’s collaboration with Newcastle University has been concerned with the benefits of feeding pigs protein induced silage.

“There is a misconception that fat is a bad thing,” Denise continued.

“Fat can be good and have health benefits for human health.”

She was keen to emphasise: “We ensure that the fat we use in our products is of the highest quality.”

The research has also examined the differences in pure-bred and half-bred pigs, with Peelham continuing to put their faith in the Tamworth breed, which are mostly fed on crimped barley and beans grown on site.

Other awards in the Peelham cabinet are a BBC2 Countryfile Local Hero accolade in 2008 and a Future Farmer Award in 2009. It has also been a finalist in the UK Quality Food Awards, the Regional Business Excellence Awards for Innovation and the RSPB Nature of Farming Awards.

Peelham Farm’s philsophy is “sustainable self-reliance” and their motto, “Love the land, love the animal, love their meat”.