Denhay Farms: Bacon
Credit: Courtesy of Denhay Farms

In 1952, two farming families – the Hoods and the Streatfeilds – combined to create Denhay Farm in Dorset's Marshwood Vale. They raised dairy cows to produce cheddar cheese (West Country Farmhouse Cheddar) and kept pigs that fed on whey, the by-product of cheesemaking. Although dairy products were their bread and butter, they decided to produce dry-cured bacon in 1995. In 1999, Denhay started to cure organic and free-range bacon under license to Duchy Originals. (Digression: Duchy Home Farm was established by the Prince of Wales on his Highgrove estate. The Duchy name is synonymous with organic, biologically sustainable farming.)

Denhay's Spoiltpig bacon brand uses only British outdoor-reared pigs from farms approved by Freedom Food to RSPCA welfare standards. The dry-curing method involves a mixture of sea salt, nitrite, and vitamin C massaged into the pork loins and bellies that are then cured for two to three weeks, giving the bacon time to mature. The Wilshire cure – a more traditional bacon cure – requires that the pork loins be immersed in a special live brine (curing salts and salt-loving bacteria) for up to two days. Then the bacon is given a couple of weeks to cure. George Streatfeild said that Denhay's now has 13 percent of the premium bacon market, which translates into big business because the Brits do love their bacon.

Denhay Farms was appointed Bacon Curer by HRH The Prince of Wales when they received a Royal Warrant in 2011. Duchy Originals organic British dry-cured bacon sells for 23.86 pounds per kg ($36.66 per 2.2 lbs). Denhay's Spoiltpig brand is a bit cheaper at Tesco at 16.25 pounds per kg. [denhay.co.uk]