Christmas on the farm, pizza with seasonal and local toppings at The Story Pig

Beads of sweat form on my brow, the heat beaming down on me and burning my cheeks… I have gained quite a glow over the last few weeks, and no we are not on a winter sun holiday to some far flung part of the world. Actually I am cooking pizzas! Our new pizza oven runs at a scorching 800 degrees, it cooks a pizza in under 90 seconds. At no point in my life did I ever think I would be a pizza baker – a farmer, yes, a gardener, yes, a landscaper, yes, a architect, yes, a builder, yes.

Charlotte on the other hand is never happier than when she’s covered in a fine film of flour, brown apron with big white hand prints. Its funny the paths that life takes us down. But actually, I love cooking the pizzas and so far they seem a hit with our customers.

We are now into my least favourite month of the year, it feels like the whole winter is still ahead of us, the mud is only going to get deeper for quite a while yet and the despair will deepen too. The trudging through muddy paddocks with a straw bale on my back to bed up the pig arks to keep the pigs warm on the long winter nights. The level of jeopardy of whether I will stay on my feet rises until the odds are stacked against me. Every pig job takes on a whole new level of planning, moving pigs, setting up hurdles to sort pigs into different groups, even feeding the pigs and trying to find somewhere dryish to feed them. Most groups are fed in troughs in the winter, but our sows are fed on the ground with big pig nuts and it gets harder to find a dry spot, well actually there are no dry spots but less muddy at least.

We have had a changing of the guard at the farm and have said goodbye to our two breeding boars who had got too big and tend to get a look in their eyes that makes me uneasy. So at the moment we have four new boars, a Tamworth called pumpkin, a Duroc called Thunder, and two homegrown Tamworth cross Saddleback boars to mix up our gene pool a bit so going forward we will have piglets of all colours in a few months time. Watch out for them in early spring time as they begin to appear at the farm.

As I write I still have a lot of lavenders left to trim and the garden is way too messy for my liking, I hope by the time you read this I will have finished the lavenders and got to grips with the garden – we have 2,000 daffodil bulbs to plant!

Back at the café I thought I should give you a winter roundup, firstly if you are on Instagram or Facebook please follow us as it is the easiest way to keep up with what we are up to here.

Winter opening hours are Friday evening, pizza evening 5-8 pm. Must be booked by phoning or texting Charlotte on 07724 885353.

Saturday and Sunday 10-2.30, breakfast BBQ 10-12, then pizzas 12-2.30, no booking needed. Our winter café is set up in our big barn, it is dressed for Christmas and we would love all our little visitors to make us Christmas decorations to help us make the barn even more Christmassy.

Finally, if you are wanting any of our pork for Christmas please let us know in good time as we only have a certain amount of gammons available. We will be open on 23rd and 24th December to pick up all orders.

So although its wintry and often wet and muddy, bring your wellies and go for a winter walk and a hot chocolate and something tasty. Let’s get through this winter together and before we know it, spring will be knocking on our doors… Who am I kidding!

James Hull, Sherborne Times, December 2022