IN MY quest to source local produce, I was recommended to talk to a farmer who plies his trade about three miles from my home.

We agreed to meet at his farm house and once aboard his work horse Land Rover (I brushed the straw from the seat and wished I’d worn something suitable!), David took me on a tour of the area pointing out the different farms on which the various animals were bred.

This was coupled with a very enthusiastic commentary punctuated with snippets about animal welfare and the need to reduce food miles.

Finally, we pulled into a yard on Red Lion Farm, and came to a halt outside the very rustic looking Britwell Salome Farm Shop.

Here we met Chris who, with similar gusto, showed me around the counter, displaying various cuts and explaining their origins and habitats. I was already being carried along on this high of enthusiasm.

Into the cold room next, we were weaving between the hanging carcasses of ‘properly hung’ beef and free-range pork.

Next we were back outside to meet farmer John, resplendent in holey jumper (poor farmer look?), who took us to the cow sheds where his son demonstrated their new hugely expensive straw shredding device which fired it’s contents into the enclosure, reminding me of a water cannon being aimed at unruly gatherings.

There was nothing unruly about these boys though the cattle, John explained, were Aberdeen Angus, with some Hereford and Charolais bulls, and very pretty they looked as they casually ducked the harmless straw.

I looked down at my once shiny black shoes and visualised my wellies by the back door at home!

Time to get on my way to work, so back into the shop, where I bought some enticing local mutton from an adjoining farm and a piece of pork leg, at Chris’ insistence!

No wonder, I don’t believe I’ve tasted pork this good. The breed is Landrace cross Duroc, and being born and bred outside clearly does make a difference.

Driving back, I contemplated the future of the mutton, deciding on a dish to be called Chiltern Mutton three ways – grilled, confit and sausage.

A great day on the farm!

Here’s the recipe for the sausage:

Chiltern Mutton Sausages with Red Onion Gravy

(Serves 4)


500g minced lean mutton, shoulder is good

50g fresh white breadcrumbs

1 tsp redcurrant jelly

1-2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or crushed

1 tbsp fresh tarragon, chopped

1 pinch of chilli flakes

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

The sauce

2 medium red onions, finely sliced

25g unsalted butter

1 tsp English mustard

100ml red wine

150ml stock, lamb or chicken


1) To make the sausage, put all the ingredients (except the seasoning and breadcrumbs) into a blender and pulse until it starts to bind, but don’t let it become too fine.

2) Add the breadcrumbs and a little seasoning, then pulse until combined.

3) Divide into eight equal pieces then roll into sausage shapes.

4) Roll each one in clingfilm, retaining the shape and knotting the ends.

5) Poach them in the clingfilm in a shallow pan of simmering water for about 4-5 minutes, until firm.

6) Allow to cool slightly.

7) Meanwhile, cook the onions gently in the butter until soft and slightly caramelised.

8) Add the wine and stock, and reduce by half.

9) Add the mustard and season to taste.

10) Unwrap the sausages and grill or pan-fry them until browned, and then serve with the sauce and some good mash.