Deep within the south Shropshire countryside, you’ll find Joshua Hales tending to his sounder of wild boar that forage within woodland of ash and silver birch. If you pause for a moment in the woodland, you will hear the sound of the boars and sows squelching the wet mud, a sound that is both satisfying and meditative. Wild boars forage on anything they can dig their snout and tusks into from acorns, tree roots, berries, potatoes, beet and woodland roughage. These are true foragers of the land. Read about how Josh got into farming wild boar, and the ways in which he keeps them as naturally-reared as possible. 

The idea of the Shropshire Boar Companystarted in Hungary after hunting, butchering, and of course, cooking wild boar. This was a practice, which became extinct in Britain, along with its wild boar population around 300 years ago. Because of this, we wanted re-introduce wild boar back onto menus all over Britain in many different styles. 

 

After obtaining a Dangerous Wild Animals license and with plenty of advice, we constructed an enclosure within a fantastic expanse of established, deciduous British woodland. This allowed us to keep our boar in a perfectly natural environment as they would be found in the wild, allowing them to forage on small plants, roots, seeds, acorns, insects and worms; apples, plums and pears are hand picked from trees on the same grounds as the enclosure. 

 

In addition with keeping their diet one hundred per cent natural, the boars are also fed crops and grain, such as, fodder beet, sugar beet, potatoes, wheat, maize and barley, all of which are harvested exactly six meters from the enclosure keeping their food miles to a minimum. We are very proud of keeping our boars fed on natural food. No supplements or form of steroids that can speed up their growth rate are used, keeping the meat tasting as natural as possible. 

 

The boars are of Russian and Bavarian origin, and can be very difficult to handle. Try herding them anywhere they don’t want to go, which is practically impossible! We supply the meat in many different cuts, from sausages and burgers, to steaks, roasting joints and whole carcasses. Cured meats are also included in our range, such as, salami, pancetta and coppa. Check our website for their availability. 

The Wild Boar of Shropshire

Words by Joshua Hales | The Shropshire Boar

Photographs by Angus D. Birditt | @ourisles

Our Isles is a project that explores and celebrates the artistry of rural life in the British Isles, through its food & drink, landscape, nature, craft and heritage.

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