The quiet pig gets the most food.

Rarebreed pigs in the woods at Withies Deli Somerset

The quiet pig gets the most food.

John Pettipas

My friend John told me that. He pulled me to one side one day and said it in a conspiratorial keep it hush hush kind of way. Everyone thought he was batshit crazy, but he owned his house and his shop, which was right smack on the only road on and off the island, and he hussled every day to make sure that every person that stepped through his door bought something, even if they darn well didn’t intend to.

One of the kindest people I’ve met too, always giving stuff to people, roping people into running errands for him even if they had promised their wives they’d be back on time this time. But his errands were never about him- they always had a story. ‘Jamie, you’ve got to meet this person. Now I’ve told them all about you and your lovely products, especially that there banoch you do…’ (It was focaccia by the way but the Scots do a fried bread that looks kinda similar so to him it was always Banoch) ‘…now she’s a widow, she lost her husband a while back and is just the kindest person, raised seven kids all on her own.’


His stories always seemed to start like that and ended up with you driving an hour in the wrong direction through whatever coastal maelstrom the weather would throw at you to drop off half a dozen ‘banochs’, a pack of bacon and some nearly out of date orange juice.

When I left the island I stopped in to say goodbye, having put it off time and time again because I knew how hard he’d take it, we both would. He wasn’t in. Had probably walked to mass as it was a Sunday and he didn’t drive, and the regulars that he’d rope into helping him were getting sparse as time naturally thinned them out. One of my biggest regrets not being able to say goodbye. Maybe I’ll send him this picture, he’ll laugh I hope.

Anyways this wasn’t meant to be a post about my friend John it was meant to show you that the deli now has our own pigs. We’re putting them in the woods here at the Willows and Wetlands Centre and will be running regular walks down to visit them. They’re Oxford Sandy and Black crosses, perfect for running in the dappled light and digging up beech mast, a slow growing rare breed that gives delicious meat which we plan to turn into our own bacon, guanciale, air dried ham and salami.

The quiet pig gets the most food. Yes John, but he’s also the first one to go to the butcher.

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