Little pigs go to market aiming for bigger things
AN EAST Yorkshire company has its sights set on the London market after its tasty products secured a string of industry accolades.
Receiving a rare breed Berkshire pig as a wedding present was where it all began for Jonathan and Charlotte Clarkson, of Kiplingcoates farm, near Beverley.
After receiving their unique present, the couple were inspired to start their new business venture, Three Little Pigs.
Five years later, it is an award-winning business, with plans for expansion.
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The business recently received two gold stars for his chorizo and salami and a single gold star for his bacon at this year's Great Taste Awards.
The chorizo also won an award at Beverley Food Festival.
Jonathan said: "I've been a farmer all of my life but never planned to set up a business and definitely didn't think that five years down the line we would be award-winning."
The East Yorkshire business, which sells its dry-cured meats to restaurants in the region, is now hoping to extend its brand into new markets.
Jonathan said: "We are now trying to build a brand and trying to break into the London market.
"We want to make the business as big as we can. We are not in business to stay small."
There were already two sows on the arable farm before the third was added to the group and the business began.
Jonathan said: "We started to breed from the pigs but eventually we were producing too much pork for our families and friends to consume.
"We had the three little pigs running around – we just couldn't keep them in. They would just jump over the hay bails."
The arable farm is run by the Clarkson family, who have farmed on Kiplingcoates for five generations. As the recession kicked in, the family wanted to boost the business.
Jonathan said: "With the decline of farmer's markets and the recession, we realised we needed to do something as well."
Three Little Pigs, which appeared at this year's Beverley Food Festival on Sunday is best-known for its selection of cured meats.
Jonathan said: "It was getting incredibly difficult selling fresh pork and there was a lot of competition.
"I had always made salami and chorizo since I started but just for our own use but a couple of years ago, I did some research and found a machine in Italy to cure the meat.
"We imported it and starting making the cured meats and selling them. We've done a bit of everything – salami, chorizo, dried hams.
"It is a premium product and because of that, it's expensive to make but I am using high-end, quality ingredients."
Jonathan is not just a farmer. He has studied a degree in anthropology and economics to widen his skills.
He said: "I thought it was a good idea to do the degree because of the way farming was.
"I didn't have any qualifications and I was concerned that farming was tough and I had nothing to fall back on.
"I can use the skills I learnt everyday in the farming business.
"It has enabled me to be able to study markets on a macro level and I think it has really helped me in business."