Stuff I've traded for a kilo of bacon

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Blenheimfest

A BlenheimFest Ticket – The BlenheimFest Crew

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Blenheim Music & Camping Festival (BlenheimFest) is a locally supported, volunteer run, not-for-profit festival, held every year at Easter in the Clare valley, South Australia. Established in 2010 by local boys John Castine and Alister Sandow on their family property near Leasingham, BlenheimFest has quickly grown from it’s humble beginnings as a farm party for 150 family and friends, to a major event on the South Australian festival calender with over 1500 tickets and a main stage boasting 23 high quality acts from all over Australia and the world.

The 11 legends that organise and run BlenheimFest aren’t in it for the money, their aim is to showcase the best local, national and international music in the naturally beautiful surrounds of the Clare Valley. They donate all the money raised each year to New Hope Cambodia – a grass roots, Non-Government-Organisation who aims to provide hope, dignity and promise to the people of Cambodia. The committee even make a point of purchasing their own tickets, which I think is pretty damn cool.

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I went to the first three BlenheimFests, but missed the last two (work, travel, bacon commitments…..), so when John and fellow committee member Tim recently offered to trade a ticket to this year’s event for a kilo of bacon, I immediately accepted.

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BlenheimFest 2015 will be held on April 3rd (Good Friday) – to read more about the festival or to buy a ticket yourself, go to www.blenheimfest.com.au

I sourced the pork for this trade from Warren at Minniribbie Farm, near Coffin Bay on the Eyre Peninsula. Warren raises 100% Free-range Berkshire pigs, hormone and antibiotic free. Because the Berkshire’s are a black haired variety, they’re able to be be pasture raised, unlike either white haired varieties which are susceptible to sunburn (like me).

The pigs spend their days roaming around grassy pastures, wallowing in mud and nesting in straw. It’s a happy life for a pig at Minniribbie farm. Check our Warren’s website for more information.

I decided the cure the whole middle I got from Warren two ways, to decide once and for all whether I prefer brine cured or dry cured bacon. Both cures had a similar ingredient list, lots of pepper, a little coriander seed, and some juniper…..and both were cold smoked for about two days with Apple, Cherry and Tasmanian Oak, in my new home-built wine barrel cold smoker. Here’s a pic of my cold smoker alongside my hot smoker. Incidentally, that’s Apple wood in the background which I nabbed off my sister’s tree after a vigorous prune.

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I’ve invited a few mates around for a blind tasting next week, so stay tuned to find out which cure came out on top.

Brine Cured
Pork – Whole middle (loin to belly)
Origin – Minniribbie Farm, Wangarry – South Australia
Breed – Berkshire
Cure – Brine cure with salt, dark muscovado sugar, juniper, pepper and coriander
Length of cure – 4 days
Smoke – Cold smoked for 2 days with Apple, Cherry and Tasmanian Oak

Dry Cured
Pork – Whole middle (loin to belly)
Origin – Minniribbie Farm, Wangarry – South Australia
Breed – Berkshire
Cure – Dry cure with salt, dark muscovado sugar, juniper, pepper and coriander
Length of cure – 7 days
Smoke – Cold smoked for 2 days with Apple, Cherry and Tasmanian Oak