8 June 2001

Regulars adore Lucys organic pork sausages

Lucy Mullers porkers not only go to market – they also make their

way to her local pub as Michael Charity found out

LUCY Mullers Gloucester Old Spot pigs have proved so popular with customers at The Bathurst Arms, they have caused Lucys name to feature frequently on the "Specials" menu at this quaint Cotswold inn at North Cerney, near Cirencester.

The inn has been using Lucys organic range of sausages and faggots for the past two years and the clientele keep coming back for more.

Lucy runs Scrubditch Farm at North Cerney, Glos, with her father, John Herdman, who has owned the 52.5ha (130-acre) farm for the past 45 years. Now into her third year of conversion to organic, she is rapidly establishing the Scrubditch Real Meats name across the county.

Lucy breeds traditional Gloucester Old Spots crossed with Durocs, which she believes help produce a leaner meat. They also finish three to four weeks earlier, which saves on organic feed. Now with nine breeding sows and a Duroc boar, she is averaging litters of 10 that are weaned for six to eight weeks. At 20 weeks they go for slaughter and the carcasses return to the farm for butchering and packing.

The prolific output from this one-woman epicure industry is enough to make a gourmets mouth water. As well as traditional bangers and faggots, the range includes sausages with sundried tomatoes and red pepper, juniper and garlic, pork and leek, wild garlic and herbs. She even offers customers the option of gluten-free sausages. There are also dry cured, or oak smoked bacon and hams, with a further selection of meats from the flock of Texel sheep and Aberdeen-Angus herd.

&#42 Quick take-off

"I have been amazed how things have taken off," says Lucy. "I began by supplying my local pub and the Longborough Farm Shop near Stow-on-the-Wold. This expanded to local farmers markets and I now also have a stall at the weekly Charter Market in Cirencester, as well as a lot of custom at the farm gate. I have nearly reached the point where I can sell as much as I produce, which is very satisfying.

"I plan to find a few more discerning outlets, but I want to keep the business as small as possible so I can maintain control over the quality, which I feel is fundamental when producing first class food. The way the demand is growing, I will soon need some help on the packaging side."

You may remember it was Lucy Muller who hit the headlines last year, when she took 30 trained geese on a charity walk across the York-shire Moors. Now she is planning another epic fund-raising journey, this time over the Pyrenees and again in the company of animals – what they will be is at present a secret – but FW can reveal that her little pigs will certainly be staying at home!