It’s not often that you hear about Saddleback pig Victorian cured back bacon and Swaledale mutton Tomahawk winning awards, but these are just some of the trophies given to online meat magnifico Farmison & Co. The e-store championing traditional animal husbandry was founded in 2011 by two carnivore connoisseurs, John Pallagi and Lee Simmonds, who felt that the quality meat found in restaurants could not be sourced for home cooking.
“The farmers we work with across Yorkshire, Lancashire and Cumbria deliver a diverse choice of heritage breed meat,” explains Andy Cavanna, commercial director at Farmison & Co, who, as former head buyer of fresh food at Fortnum & Mason, knows a thing or two about good produce. “We are perpetuating the long-term survival of these breeds, which are vital to our national heritage.” The list includes Galloway, Shorthorn and Dexter cows; Swaledale and Texel sheep; and Saddleback and Gloucester Old Spot pigs. “In terms of taste, meat from heritage breed livestock is wonderfully mature and marbled, ensuring its tenderness and succulence, and, when dry-aged, develops a rich layer of flavour and texture, hard to find in other meats.”
The animals are left to graze peacefully, enjoying high standards of welfare, until the meat is ready, while in the case of poultry, the birds spend their days stress free in the open air, feasting on Yorkshire grasslands. It’s a process totally unfettered by any intensive modern-day commercial farming practices and the meat, delivered 48 hours after an order is placed, is always fresh – never frozen.
“Currently our most searched word on our site is ‘brisket’, which is exactly how we like it as we generally buy whole-carcass animals,” says Cavanna, adding that this nose-to-tail approach to butchery produces less waste and is better for the farmer. The brisket joints, such as a 2kg chunk of Yorkshire Dales-raised Dexter (£30.55), are dry-aged for 14 days, while other top sellers include rustic forerib (from £24 per kg), côte de boeuf (from £25.95 for 900g) and topside (from £12.95 for 750g), as well as the popular Winter Warmer Box (£44.28), which includes a topside joint, braising steak, diced beef and steak mince.
There’s specifically festive fare too: the Christmas Essentials Box (£20), which partners pigs in blankets and sausagemeat stuffing with gravy and sauces, while the Christmas ham (£130) is cured in salt and muscovado sugar and seasoned with a range of spices. Naturally, Farmison & Co is taking pre-orders for turkeys – but is also offering “a truly spectacular Christmas centrepiece developed by our in-house Michelin star chef Jeff Baker” – a free-range goose (£165 for 3.5kg) stuffed with Bramley apple and winter spice. So no wild goose chase to finding the last turkey in London…