How far would you go for Bacon in SW France?

How far would you go to get proper bacon?

I have just finnished processing my free range pig that I order each year.

After giving a vacuum pack of my frozen smoked back bacon to a friend, he says I should start selling it.

We live in Mauleon dept 64, please could you drop me a post if you would be interested in these products , and I will look into the ecconomics and practicalities of producing and delivering/you collecting.

I started doing this 4 years ago as I missed bacon and pork joints with crackling, and have progressed to streaky and back bacon, bought a smoker, and now produce brined mature ham, sausages ( with and without rusk), choirzo, a spanish version of black pudding, as well as joints and chops. For the first time this year I have also produced confit pork in duck fat, which is delicious.

It has taken a while to get all the equipment needed and the methods of production perfected and most of the equipment sits idle all year, so if enough people are intersted I will start production.



I am interested in buying pigs when we move to France (some time this year) but unsure - are there pig markets a in the UK, private breeders? or is there any recognised supply chain, cheers Phil & Liz

Well, I can do, but the problem is delivery.

Its just not economic for me to spend 20 euros on diesel, just to deliver two, 3 euro packs so its really only going to be of interest to people who can come and collect from chez nous.

Thats why I started the post with How far would YOU go to get decent bacon!!

I am happy to stick a pack in the post, but cant guarantee what state it will be in after its been in the French postal system for 2 days

I am happy to report that I can now accept orders for bacon.

I can provide dry cure (no water in the pan when you fry it) smoked, back bacon, vacuum packed for collection at 11 Euros a kilo.
I pack in 8 rasher packs, which weigh approximately 275g, 275 g will be about 3 Euros.

If I get enough orders, I may be able to arrange delivery drop offs in Dax and Pau, for multiple customers.

Please email me at if you want to order

And in the same vein, I present the following…

I am considering rearing a couple of pigs and have watched Hugh’s videos of river cottage, and have all the gen on it.

However, for reasons associated with the arrival of two sprogs, I find I have less time on my hands, so have decided not to rear pigs this year. I recently came across this alleged letter about not rearing pigs and have sent a copy to The The Rt Hon Caroline Spelman MP
I suggest we all send a copy to the new right honourable lady!!

The Rt Hon Caroline Spelman MP
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Nobel House
17 Smith Square
London SW1P 3JR

Dear Secretary of State,

My friend, who is in farming at the moment, recently received a cheque for GBP3,000 from the Rural Payments Agency for not rearing pigs.

I would now like to join the “not rearing pigs” business. In your opinion, what is the best kind of farm not to rear pigs on and which is the best breed of pigs not to rear? I want to be sure I approach this endeavour in keeping with all government policies, as dictated by the EU under the Common Agricultural Policy.

I would prefer not to rear bacon pigs, but if this is not the type you want not rearing, I will just as gladly not rear porkers. Are there any advantages in not rearing rare breeds such as Saddlebacks or Gloucester Old Spots, or are there too many people already not rearing these? As I see it, the hardest part of this programme will be keeping an accurate record of how many pigs I haven’t reared. Are there any Government or Local Authority courses on this?

My friend is very satisfied with this business. He has been rearing pigs for forty years or so, and the best he ever made on them was GBP1,422 in 1968. That is - until this year, when he received a cheque for not rearing any. If I get GBP3,000 for not rearing 50 pigs, will I get GBP6,000 for not rearing 100? I plan to operate on a small scale at first, holding myself down to about 4,000 pigs not raised, which will mean about GBP240,000 for the first year. As I become more expert in not rearing pigs, I plan to be more ambitious, perhaps increasing to, say, 40,000 pigs not reared in my second year, for which I should expect about GBP2.4 million from your department.

Incidentally, I wonder if I would be eligible to receive tradable carbon credits for all these pigs not producing harmful and polluting methane gases? Another point: These pigs that I plan not to rear will not eat 2,000 tonnes of cereals. I understand that you also pay farmers for not growing crops. Will I qualify for payments for not growing cereals to not feed the pigs I don’t rear?

I am also considering the “not milking cows” business, so please send any information you have on that too. Please could you also include the current DEFRA advice on set aside fields? Can this be done on an e-commerce basis with virtual fields (of which I seem to have several thousand hectares)?

In view of the above, you will realise that I will be totally unemployed, and will therefore qualify for unemployment benefits. I shall of course be voting for your party at the next general election.

Yours faithfully,

well, err …I could, but are you happy to have bacon sent in the post?

it wont be refrigerated?

Maybe you could be a guinea pig, if I send you a pack, and you dont die when you eat it, we could give it a go???

Hi Alistair
What about all the bacon loving souls who cant get to you will you be offering a postal delivery service as well

yours bacon starved, Steve

Thanks for all your comments ( execept from someone who was a vegetarian, and didnt read the question on the exam paper correctly!)

I will be working some prices out and should have them up here by the end of the week. I have been thinking about the logistics etc, and have decided to vacuum pack 8 back rashers per pack, and price per kilo. These packs will last for 4 weeks unopened in your fridge, and up to a year in the freezer (bet you wont leave 'em in there that long tho !)
So you place your order for how many 8 rasher packs you want, I process the bacon and tell you when its ready ( usually takes about a week to cure and smoke it), you come and pick it up and pay for it.

If we have large orders, grouped for pick up at say Dax, or Mont de Marson, then we may be able to deliver, with a delivery charge to cover the diesel.


Interesting points - maybe our butchers here in the Ariege are exceptional or we are just lucky, but they are proud to display the details of the suppliers of their meat. The chickens for example come from a farmstead 8kms down the road, the lambs from Mirepoix 40kms away and the pork will be either from Justin 4kms up the hill from us or from another farmer within the department - all reared in the open air and humanely treated right through to slaughter. Admittedly the meat is more expensive than meat from the supermarket but you get what you pay for. And the subject of how far you can make a chicken go is a whole different subject on which I shall remain ‘stum’! Either way, the subject of buying fresh produce (particularly from Tesco) from the UK and having it shipped to France is simply a subject about which many many people feel very strongly. But at the end of the day, each to their own, live and let live and all that!

Thanks. I found it ok. I thought that they had a better selection of fruit & veg, and that the meat was much cheaper than our local supermarkets.

Hi clare, I shop at Alcampo (Auchan). Take exit 2 on Spanish side, Irun (Center comercial). Go through the toll, come to a roundabout, need to go all away around (3rd exit I think) (hotel will be on your left) and you will see a massive car park, Mcdonalds and shopping centre. Hope this helps. Sandra

Hi Sandra, whereabouts in Spain do you shop? I have several hours to kill in the Biarritz area this afternoon and could nip over the border.

Hi Alistair, i too would be interested if there was a way to deliver it to the Lyon area. My daughter still complains each time we do the weekly shop over the lack of sausages & bacon. Good luck with your enterprise

Sausages would be great and also smoked bacon, we are in Pau so not too far way I think…

I’m all for avoiding food miles but when a lot of produce in French supermarkets has been shipped from half way around the world, I fail to see the issue with buying from Tesco’s. In an ideal world I agree we would all shop locally for everything but it is just not like that. Besides UK sausages ( good or ‘rubbish’ ones) taste quite different to French (they also produce good and ‘rubbish’ ones complete with rusks!!) - ditto bacon v. poitrine.

I get my veg from an AMAP and my chickens too - they are v. affordable, unfortunately local butcher’s prices aren’t. They are stifled by paperwork and they too, often find it impossible to source locally. And don’t forget, unless it is as a bio butcher and / or you are very lucky - the pork chops are likely to have been factory farmed in the Cotes d’Armor and then transported. In which case, buying free range Tesco pork may well be the more environmentally sound option…

We do not have a local village butcher, as with everything over here, all the small shops are closing and the meat from the supermarket is dreadful and butcher’s meat is so expensive! This is the first time I have ordered from Tescos for delivery in France and believe it or not I have saved a small fortune on the grocery order, including paying the delivery fees. I was dead against it at first, but hey I am trying to save money. I also travel to Spain every couple of months and buy my meat there too, especially whole chickens which are 1/4 of the price. When things pick up again then maybe I will be able to afford meat from a butcher, until then it is my choice and if my B&B guests want English sausages with their breakfast, then they will get it!

Check out - friends of ours just up the hill - about as ‘Bio’ as you are going to get in France. We bought & butchered half a pig from them last year and it is truely FANTASTIC tasting Gascon pork meat :slight_smile:

Oh… dear :frowning: Tesco delivery? You ARE joking, right? I mean, you need to have a word with your village butcher who will sell you proper poitrine fumée and poitrine salée, saucisse fraiche and côtes de porc that doesn’t have water, rusk & I dread to think what else added to it - proper, locally reared and fantastically flavoured meat like you will never get from Tesco. I have to say that the very idea of shipping Uk fresh produce to France is abhorrent to me. There is no need! <rant over!>

Hi Karen, I'm near Lectoure too, we have a Yoga Centre at Caudet, 10 minutes out of Lectoure on the Condom road. (I don't eat bacon, but my partner does) You might be interested in the yoga, weekly classes on Mondays and Wednesdays


Whilst not wanting to steal Alastair's thunder, a while back I fancied doing Nigella's 24H pork shoulder for our NYE meal and asked the burcher who brings his wagon to the village every Friday whether it was possible to get a shoulder with the rind on. He was happy to oblige and we had a superb meal.

Haven't found a source for ham though.