The world’s largest blind-tasted food awards Great Taste, has just released the stars of 2014 and Primrose Herd is amongst the producers celebrating. Three of their products received the prestigious stars, from 10,000 entries nationally.
Judged by over 400 of the most demanding palates – belonging to food critics, chefs, cooks, farmers and a host of food writers and journalists – Great Taste is widely acknowledged as the most respected food awards for artisan and speciality food producers. Primrose Herd were singled out for recognition for their Gloucestershire Old Spot rack of loin, which received one star, their Smoked dry cured back bacon, awarded two stars, and their Gloucestershire Old Spot Belly pork, which received a remarkable three stars.
The judges were especially generous in their praise of this last entry, commenting on the “impressive appearance and lovely glazed crackling. So, so sweet and moist, with that chewy, crunchy crackling, this is on the button. Seasoning is not really required, so right were the pork notes. It is a piece of meat that speaks for itself. The breed, the rearing, the aging are all perfect. Thank you to the producer.”
The care of the pigs of Primrose Herd is a labour of love for the Lugg family – Sally, Bill and their three children Rachael, Abbi and Josh. Sally was overwhelmed by the judges response, commenting “we know we have a great model, with excellent breeds and so much care and attention at every stage of the process – everything is done in house so we have complete control. To come out on top in such a tough competition and with the calibre of judging so high is incredible.”
Sally and her husband Bill gave up their former jobs when they discovered a talent for rearing traditional breed pigs, and began selling at farmers markets in 2000 where they soon found their products were in high demand. Primrose Herd itself is made up of several traditional breeds including Gloucester Old Spots and Large Blacks. The pigs enjoy the outdoor life, a better diet and slower growth than commercial production methods allow, all within a world heritage site near Redruth.
The choice of breeds and careful animal husbandry ensures excellent marbling in the meat, a good meat to fat ratio, and a more developed flavor – all of which were praised by the Great Taste judges. These included Masterchef judge and restaurant critic Charles Champion, BBC Food Programme presenter Sheila Dillon, Great British Bake Off winner Frances Quinn, MasterChef 2013 Natalie Coleman, food buyers from Harrods, Fortnum & Mason, Selfridges, Harvey Nichols and Whole Food Markets, and chefs including Michelin Star chef Russell Brown.
Of the 10,000 products entered, just 153 have been awarded 3-stars. These finalists, including Primrose Herd, will be re-judged and tasted yet again to finally agree on the 2014 Top 50 Foods, the Golden Fork Trophy winners and the new 2014 Supreme Champion. The results will be announced at a nail-biting Awards’ Dinner at the Royal Garden Hotel, London, on the 8thSeptember.
As well as selling at Truro Farmers Market, the Luggs now have an on-farm butchery which is open three mornings a week (Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 10am – 1pm). Primrose Herd is also just about to launch a new website, which will allow customers across the country to enjoy award-winning pork via home delivery.