Interview with native breed pig farmer, Naomi Bugg

Here at The Real Cure, our ethos is to use locally sourced and high quality produce to make our British charcuterie, which is why we use farmer Naomi Bugg’s free range native breed pigs. Reared in Blandford, less than 10 miles from Real Cure HQ, we find out from Naomi just what makes her pigs so special and unique…

How and why did you first get into rearing Native Breed pigs?

“I first got into having pigs literally to clear an orchard at the new house! A friend had some Saddlebacks so I bought 2 off him and it went from there really.”

What do you feed your pigs on, and why?

“The pigs are fed on home grown and rolled barley which is really easy to digest, contains essential amino acids and provides energy without being too fatty. Barley also helps create the marbled look on the meat.” 

What makes Heritage breeds so unique?

“Heritage breeds are unique in lots of ways, they all have a great history story, from the Gloucester Old Spots originating from the orchards of the West Country to the Saddlebacks dating back to the 20th century, heritage breeds used to forage for their own food, as well as being offered bakery and dairy waste and used to clear scrubland. They are known to produce excellent quality meat. Being on the decline in recent years makes them all the more special. Plus they look great!”

Heritage breed pigs have a tendency to be quite fatty, is there anything you do to counter this?

“It’s important to stop the pigs getting too fatty so that is why they are on a specific diet to provide the energy for growth without putting on too much fat. I don’t finish them intensely so they have time to get to finishing weight. Also being outside means they get some exercise creating a more leaner meat.”

What do you love most about rearing livestock and living in Dorset?

“We are so lucky to live and work in Dorset, there’s so much to love about the glorious countryside. I love seeing animals happy and enjoying the great outdoors and it feels me with satisfaction to watch them grow and clearly love life in the home I’ve provided for them. Pigs are so intelligent and full of character, they make me laugh every day.”

What does a typical day look like for you at the farm?

“A typical day on the Farm always starts with feeding all the animals. They come first! Then it’s whatever takes charge, no two days are the same, there’s always jobs to do. Typically winter time is all about the livestock, feeding, bedding, scraping yards etc. Then the cows start calving late January for 10-12 weeks. Then spring hits and the field work takes over, getting the crops ready for the harvest over the summer. Not forgetting silage and hay making in June and July.”

If you had to summarise your ethos in 3 words, what would they be?

“3 words hmmm - Keeping Pigs Happy?!  Happy pigs, happy meat.”