Isleham Pig Farmer Suppling Meat To Michelin-starred Restaurant After Just One Year In Business
A PIG farmer from Isleham has been asked to supply a Michelin-starred restaurant – after just one year in the trade. Jane Wilton-Clark and her family previously bred award-winning whippets and greyhounds. They moved to Cambria Farm, on the Ely to Prickwil
A PIG farmer from Isleham has been asked to supply a Michelin-starred restaurant - after just one year in the trade.
Jane Wilton-Clark and her family previously bred award-winning whippets and greyhounds. They moved to Cambria Farm, on the Ely to Prickwillow road, in 2003.
After discovering that the Fenland soil was no good for cattle or sheep, Mrs Wilton-Clark decided to try pigs, and bought her first two last year.
Five months later, she was selling pork at the Ely Farmers' Market and one month after that her initial two pigs had grown to a herd of more than 60 animals.
She now rears pedigree rare breed pigs and was recently featured in a popular television cooking show.
Celebrity chef Daniel Clifford, from Midsummer House in Cambridge, chose to use pork from Mrs Wilton-Clark's farm when he competed in The Great British Menu on BBC2. His restaurant was awarded its first Michelin star in 2001, and another in 2005.
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He visited the farm for the programme and described the meat as "the best he had ever tasted".
Mrs Wilton-Clark said: "It was very nice that somebody with his rating actually came to the farm and was so complimentary about how we keep the pigs. We must be doing something right. There's no point in producing it if it isn't going to taste good."
She added: "He has asked us to supply his restaurant but because our breeds are rare, they are thin on the ground so he has got to wait until we have more available. We are passionate about supplying the farmers' markets, that's where we started. We are great believers in supporting local markets and they have to come first."
While most farmers rear one breed of pig, Mrs Wilton-Clark breeds three: the Gloucester Old Spot, the British Saddleback and the Oxford Sandy and Black. She takes them to the abattoir herself, and then to a local organic butcher who cuts the pork and prepares the sausages for market.
Daniel chose the sandy and black, and used three different cuts in his complex main-course recipe.
"He used tenderloin, which he rolled in black pudding and Parma ham," said Mrs Wilton-Clark. "He also used a shoulder joint and belly pork, which he slow-roasted. He was incredibly artistic.
"All the judges commented on the wonderful flavours of the pork, which was good to hear."
Pic cap: Mrs Wilton-Clark with one of her pigs.