Our bacon is different from normal shop-bought bacon. It's made using pork from the pigs on our farm, for a start. They're kept free range, and are rare breed Berkshires and Saddlebacks, which makes them more flavoursome from the get-go. And then we use traditional, time-honoured techniques to cure and smoke it, for maximum flavour, and a preservative-free product.
Oliver makes all our smokers himself. The bacon is cured first, and then hot smoked, packed and brought to market or sent to a providore. It's all-Tasmanian, made in the West Tamar Valley, free range and nitrate free.
Available on our stall at Harvest Launceston farmers' market fortnightly and at select providores in northern Tasmania and Hobart. (See 'Buy' page for market dates and stockists.)
It's believed the pigs are an advance guard sent by Mr Neill to Tasmania, who is appearing on 18th May at this year's BOFA Film Festival in Launceston. 'We think he's sent them over the check out the region's Pinot Noir and sniff out interesting varietals,' said Ms Stocker, who is employed part time by the Tamar Valley Wine Route. 'Pigs have fine noses and are known to like a good drop. It could be industrial espionage of course. Can't say.' The pigs were also unable to comment.
Mr Neill famously owns the vineyard Two Paddocks in New Zealand's premium wine region of Central Otago, producing exceptionally fine Pinot Noir and also Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling. The wines are similar to those of the Tamar, also one of the world's premium cool climate wine regions.
The Stockers have offered to host the pigs until Mr Neill visits Launceston in two weeks' time for BOFA and can be reunited with them. "We won't be putting them in our farm stay accommodation because that's usually for paying guests," said Ms Stocker. "But they're very comfortable in the paddocks and we'll certainly show them some of the sights of Launceston and northern Tasmania, and offer them a tour of the Tamar's great wines while they're here, for comparison to those of their own region."
Mr Neill could be assured there was no possibility of the pigs being used for bacon while on the farm, she added.
Persons who may be able to contact Mr Neill to advise him of his pigs' whereabouts should contact the farm. For further news of the pigs, please check back on the Langdale Farm Facebook page later in the week.
We're now able to bring you these further updates on Sam Neill's pigs, as they continue to be made welcome in Tasmania, taking in the sights in both town and country. 'These are well behaved pigs,' remarked farmer and author Fiona Stocker. 'Really, you'd hardly know they were there.'
There are great places to eat and drink in the Tamar Valley - if you know where to look.
Below are the places we like to go, ranging from fine dining to something simpler but scrumptious. The Tamar Valley is semi-rural, and we recommend you plan ahead, check opening hours, and make bookings to avoid disappointment, especially for dinner. The following spots are our favourites, in strict order of preference. Yes, we've played favourites.
Very possibly the choicest cut, pork fillet is the leanest and most tender cut of all. It lends itself to dishes cooked quickly and simply as it doesn't need much in the way of cooking. Perfect for a weekday dinner, and it teams brilliantly with all manner of accompaniments, from mashed potato, pureed cauliflower or celeriac, sumptuous mushroom or garlicky sauces. Fiona likes to see it nestled alongside a selection of delicate seasonal vegetables such as green or yellow runner beans, buttery kale or leafy Brussels sprouts.