Award winning Italian style ham made in Berwickshire

Denise and Chris Walton with their SSFFF Award
Denise and Chris Walton with their SSFFF Award

Peelham Farm farm produce just keeps on winning awards - the latest being Best Food Award at Scotland’s Speciality Fine Food Fair.

Peelham’s organic air-dried prosciutto ham is a big hit with food judges and after being awarded a Great Taste 2012 logo it won the Best food Award at the Specialty Fine Food Fair.

The ham is made by the Cayley Walton Partnership at Peelham Farm near Foulden from their organic Tamworth pigs and based on the northern Italian San Danielle method of air-drying.

Denise Walton, from the Cayley Walton Partnership said: “Judges found it hard to believe that such an excellent artisan charcuterie product could be made in Scotland.”

Following visits to Italy to look at the craft of salami-making, Denise and her husband Chris were convinced that the product could be successfully made in Berwickshire with their rare-breed Tamworth pigs.

With the help of the organisation ‘Slow Food’ they invited artisan Italian salami makers to Peelham from the Friuli Region followed by a return to that area with one of their young craft-butchers to gain an understanding of the craft.

Such attention to detail has clearly paid off and the ham was chosen from a host of exhibiting producers, at the show in Glasgow’s SECC last month. A panel of industry experts, including Earthy Food owner Pete Jackson, Herald Food columnist Cate Devine and Emma Niven from Loch Leven’s Larder, judged product originality, commercial appeal and value for money.

“It has taken dedication and hard work,” said Denise “and not without some risk and a lot of fun!

“The quality of the product is as much in the breeding and farming of the pigs as in the final preparation and all the best Italian artisan salami-makers acknowledge, from generations of experience, this is the case.

“This is a whole-farm team-effort from the day-to-day management of our organic free-range pig enterprise to the careful butchery preparation and salting of the pork legs and the months of air-drying. Every stage of the chain is important to the quality of the end product”.

Food industry accolades for Peelham’s organic meat produce have included: UK Quality Food Awards in 2009; Countryfile Magazine Local Food Hero in 2008; and in 2012 a panel of 350 food experts narrowed down 8,807 foods to a total of 123 they considered deserving of a 3-star gold award - including Peelham prosciutto ham.