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It’s fair to say that we love working with local businesses. Even before we had our brewery we were starting to form alliances with some of the great local producers that we have in Portsmouth. In the last year alone we’ve seen beer bread, chocolate brownies, hot dog relishes, chilli sauces and all manner of food goods (including pies from Pie & Vinyl) all made with our beer. So when Jason from Farmer’s Choice first approached us about doing another type of pie collaboration it didn’t really seem like something new for us. However the more we talked over a beer then the more our personal feelings towards the mistreatment of animals in the meat industry and the misleading labelling of supermarkets started to come out.
‘Did you know’ Jason said ‘that the terms Indoor Bred/Outdoor Bred/Outdoor Reared as used by supermarkets are hugely misleading? In fact with some meats it can simply mean that the mother of the meat you’re eating was reared outdoors and not the animal itself.’…I didn’t realise this.
This level of deceptive marketing is something I find hugely infuriating. It’s present in all industries, not least of which the brewing industry, but when it comes to the wellfare of living creatures it goes to a whole new level of sinister and cruel. Although not officially a vegetarian myself I have eaten meat only a handful of times in the last 15 years as a result of my own personal exposure to modern agricultural methods and the huge amount of waste involved in our 24 hour food shopping culture.
As a result it was refreshing to hear from a butcher a level of care and respect for the creatures he uses in his various produce. That was when the concept of the Pienosaur started coming together. A generously filled pastry pie that would source it’s ingredients exclusively from the local South Downs and include only meat that was actually ‘Free Range’. The most ethically sourced delicious pie available in Hampshire to go with our unfiltered and unfined beers! Sounds awesome I thought.
A couple of weeks later once the ingredients were decided upon we took a visit to Broughton Water Buffalo farm and were introduced to the owner and farmer Dagan. I liked Dagan instantly, he’s an edgy character and it’s perfectly clear he doesn’t take any shit, the perfect personality to deal with the bureaucracy of modern agriculture I’m sure. But as well as this determined attitude there is a sensitivity to the man (who was raised in the South of France and studied art before finally returning to take the reins of the family farm) and he clearly cares deeply for these magnificent creatures.
‘Everyday of their life is wonderful, except for one.’ He quips. At first this comes over as a little glib to my (almost) veggie values, but he really means it in the kindest sense. These animals are cared for meticulously. They are moved each and every day to new pastures so they only graze on the best grass and clover which also gives the land itself time to recuperate.
Dagan took over the farm from his granddad at a very young age. Being young and filled with new ideas (and completely ignorant about farming), he could remodel the farm as he envisaged it. In January 2014, in partnership with the Woodland Trust, they planted 15,000 trees on the peripheral of the grazing fields. The trees are natures carbon hoovers that provide shade for the buffalo, shelter for the land and it will allow the chalky ground to hold moisture in the Summer. The trees also build up their own eco system of insects and plants. It was this commitment to sustainable, natural farming methods that made Broughton Water Buffalo farm the perfect choice for the Pienosaur project and I’m sure you’ll agree it tastes better as a result.
For the facts on meat labelling