The competition was organised by the Jellied Eel Magazine with London Farmers Markets (LFM) to promote some of the wonderful local produce on offer at farmers’ markets in the capital and to help build stronger links between customers and producers .
Cheryl Cohen, Director at LFM, said, ‘The competition helped to highlight some of the fantastic quality products our traders sell and the hard time pig farmers are having. We wanted to show that it really is worth paying a little extra for the high welfare of animals and high quality meat content in your sausage.’
Hundreds of Londoners voted on over 21 farmers’ market sausages with the top five going to an expert panel. Judges included food critic Charles Campion, St John’s Fergus Henderson, butcher and blogger Charlotte Harbottle and Manson chef Alan Stewart.
Charles Campion said; “What a great competition, everyone likes a good sausage and the short-listed bangers were all delicious”
The competition also highlighted the importance of using the whole of the animal. Ben Reynolds, the Jellied Eel magazine, explains: “We were keen to focus on sausages as a brilliant example of the diversity of great produce available local to London. The sausage is also a great way of making sure that the less well loved cuts of meat don’t go to waste and that farmers make money from all the carcass. We hope this competition has meant more people have gone out to farmers markets and tried some new sausages”
Matt Emmett, on hearing their Cumberland had won best local London sausage, said, “Delighted to win, especially with such strong competition, as this will support my fledgling business. Thank you to all who voted"
Matt will be presented with his award at Marylebone Farmers’ Market by the Deputy Mayor of Westminster on Sunday 29th April.
1. The competition
The competition, organised by the Jellied Eel Magazine and London Farmers’ Markets ran from 18 January to 20 February with sausages entered from 21 local producers selling at London Farmers’ Markets. A short-list of five of those voted for by the public were put to a tasting panel in March.
2. London Farmers’ Markets runs 20 weekly certified farmers’ markets in London, providing sites for 183 farmers and producers to sell direct to the public. www.lfm.org.uk and Twitter @londonfarmers. Each market has its own dedicated Facebook page where customers can ask questions, write comments and view photos of their market.
The Jellied Eel is a quarterly London magazine about ethical eating. It is produced by BIG Media and London Food Link, part of the charity Sustain: The alliance for better food and farming. 20,000 copies of the free magazine are distributed via 130 outlets across London. www.jelliedeel.org/stockists and Twitter @thejelliedeel1.
3. The winners
Matt Emmett’s family have been farming in Hambleden near Henley since 1936. Matt grew up on the farm and he’s the 4th generation to farm. Father David stopped keeping pigs in 1998 due to the non profitability of it. The last of them appeared in an episode of Midsommer Murders! After the pigs had gone – one local gentleman commented “But there have always been pigs at Rockwell End!” The farm didn’t feel the same without pigs. Matt started keeping pigs in 2009. His herds of rare breed slow growing Saddlebacks and Tamworths are free range all year in large paddocks.
The winning sausage:
Food critic Charles Campion said; “The Cumberland sausage was particularly well made and had an excellent balance between fat and lean – a worthy winner”
Marylebone customers said; “I was brought up in Cumbria and Rockwell End Pig’s ‘Cumberland’ sausage takes me back to my childhood”
“The best sausages I have ever had, the consistency is just right, not like a paste”
Matt Emmett, Rockwell End Pigs says about his sausages;
‘The mince is not too fine nor too coarse, the Cumberland is quite peppery but it doesn’t overpower the pork. I don’t see the point of using free range, rare breed pork if you can’t taste it because the herbs and spices overpower it.’
‘I use any cuts of pork which are not used for joints etc – generally some shoulder, belly, loin – gives some sweetness, no bone, gristle or rubbish!’
‘I use natural skins, they have 80% which I think is ample- some with 90% are too dry, they are not too fatty yet are moist, don’t split easily. When you see me at a farmer’s market you can try and compare the flavours before you buy!’
Matt’s sausages are available at Marylebone farmers’ market
07814 159 977
David Wilkinson has been pig farming for 27 years. Ask him about his life before and he’ll say, I don’t really remember having one! David lives and breathes pork production. When he recently remarried, the wedding had to take place on a Thursday so it did not interrupt his weekly routine. Debbie his wife who also sells at farmers’ markets with David is under no illusion as to what she was marrying into. Downland Pigs have won gold awards in the Taste of the West. They only use meat from the shoulder carrying a maximum of 10% fat creating an open texture and all sausages are made by hand. All ingredients, including the skins are natural.
About the sausage
David said; “Our sausages are not only famous all over the South West by winning the best overall sausage at Taste of the West but now in London by being highly commended by the judges in the Love your local Sausage Competition”
Food critic Charles Campion said;
“The Breakfast Marmalade Sausage deserves a special commendation for innovative flavours. Making a sausage with Marmalade sounds strange but this banger was surprisingly more-ish”.