Food - Lewes Farmers Market

In the 1987 hurricane a wild boar pen in Beckley near Rye was destroyed and all the animals escaped. “They have since thrived in the area, and colonised the best part of the country,” says Neale Hopper. The area around Beckley includes 5-6,000 acres of forestland, and plenty of estates where the boar and other wild animals roam free. Neale sells game he and other people shoot in the area in local markets, including wild boar cuts and sausages. After a strict vetting process he was allowed to sell from a stall in the Farmers Market in Lewes last month. He’d sold out of all his stock, which includes wild fallow venison, pheasants, ducks and partridges, by 11.30am.

Fed on a diet of Asterix books as a youngster I’m particularly interested in the wild boars. How is their meat different from pork? “Wild meat is generally darker in colour to the meat of reared animals. The pork in the supermarkets is virtually white: boar meat (which you treat the same as pork) is halfway between that and the colour of beef. They haven’t been force-fed the stuff they give many farm-reared animals. They’ve been living on acorns and bluebell bulbs. The meat’s also a different texture: the animals are more toned as they have to make a living.” For the moment Neale will sell his wild boar in the form of sausages (with apple, with honey and thyme, with sun-dried tomatoes and fresh chillies); later in the season he’ll be selling cuts. Can’t wait: we’d better just make sure Cacofonix is sorted out first. DL

Wild thing: boar meat is leaner and darker than pork

Lewes Pedestrian Precinct
When? 9am-1pm, first Sat of each month
How Much? Free Entry
(t) 01273 470900
(w) Website