Cornwall has its fair share of high profile chefs, famous restaurants, foodie awards and culinary PR. However behind this success story are the army of food producers, big and small, whose passion and dedication is just as great, despite working outside the limelight. Pig farmers Sally and Bill Lugg, and their children Rachael, Abbi and Josh are one such family: unassuming champions of Cornwall’s food culture who are currently busy taking their business to the next level.
Bill and Sally gave up their former jobs (Sally was a bank manager and Bill owned a plumbing and heat engineering business) when they discovered a talent for rearing traditional breed pigs. They began selling at farmers markets in 2000, and soon found that their products were in high demand. “We received a great response, with many customers saying it was the best pork they had ever tasted,” said Bill. “We soon built up a very loyal following.”
Over the years, customers have increasingly come to appreciate the importance of buying local and knowing where the meat comes from, and how it is reared. “Various scandals in the food industry have turned people back to local butchers, markets and farm shops, where provenance is much clearer, and quality is higher,” Sally explained.
In order to cater for increasing demand, Primrose Herd now has its own on-farm butchery (currently open by appointment, or you can call ahead to pre-order). The butchery and processing facilities were made possible by a grant from The Rural Business Investment Scheme. Here you will find Bill and Sally’s daughter Rachael, whose role in the business involves preparing and packing the range of pork products, as well as serving customers.
The shop is a fantastic new hub for the business. However as busy business owners with a large family, Sally and Bill also understand the need for convenience when it comes to food shopping. This is why, in the next big development for Primrose Herd, the Luggs are launching a new website with an online ordering facility. “Now our whole range of products will be available at a click of a button, and can be delivered promptly across the UK,” says Sally.
The herd itself is a mixture of around six breeds, including Gloucester Old Spots and Large Blacks. The pigs are reared outdoors, and enjoy a better diet and slower growth than commercial production methods allow. This encourages marbling in the meat, a good meat to fat ratio and a more developed flavour. Products include a mouth-watering array of sausages, including Chorizo-style, which recently won a Taste of The West Gold Award, a full range of bacon, Cornish Hogs Pudding, pork and apple ‘rounds’ and fine cuts including shoulder, belly and tenderloin.
You can find a selection of Primrose Herd products at Truro Farmers Market, Lemon Quay, every Saturday.