My name is Lucy Peacock and I am currently at Harper Adams University College studying Hnd Agriculture. As part of our course we have a work placement year, so during our first year we are required to apply to a number of jobs. I applied to Chestnut Meats and was luck enough to be called back for a second interview. Below is a description of my day and how I found the experience overall.
I arrived at Chestnut Meats this morning keen to be out of lectures, and excited at the prospect of having a days work on the farm. As I arrived I was met by Ben Seels who was my competition for the day. We walked to the farm house where we kindly met by Sarah (the current placement student) and the owners Tim and Marnie Dobson who explained the jobs for the day.
We started by feeding the goats on the farm and watered each pen. We then ventured to the farm up the road, funnily enough Ben opted to be taken by the fork lift, whereas Sarah and I rode down on bikes. We then fed the goats barley, by this point they were extremely hungry and bawling as I suppose you'd expect from a pregnant goats.
After being half trampled we filled up the hay feeders using the forklift and put bales of hay on the floor ready to feed and litter the pens.
We then walked round the field next to the the barn to check on the electric fencing after readjusting a few stakes we were then heading back, luckily this time however I got to ride in the forklift.
On arriving back at the home farm we were kitted out and ready to make sausages, this seemed a slightly daunting but extremely exciting task to us. We changed into white coats, clean boats and hair nets which I found particularly attractive.
Marnie then took us into the butchery where she explained the need for absolute cleanliness around the meat and the surfaces that were being worked on as the risk of contamination was high. We were told that we each were going to make our own batch of sausages from Gloucester old spot pig meat, and were asked to start chopping and dicing the meat to make it an adequate size to put through the mincer. Once we had finished chopping, the mincer was switched on and we both had a chance to push the meat through and watch it go from a joint to pork mince. We then had the task of adding water and breadcrumbs to the mince and squashing it into a pasty mixture with the intention of making the pork easier to be pushed through the sausage making machine.
The next step was to then use the sausage making machine to create the end product. I was once again first as Ben's new favourite term was 'Ladies first' interesting tactic. Anyway I entered the mince and was instructed in how to put the artificial sausage skin onto the probe and told to push the lever with my knee so the meat came out into the skin. I got of to a shakey start but managed it, Ben then repeated this. By this point it looked as though there was a gigantic sausage sitting in front of me, but then came the dividing up.
Marnie showed us how to divide the one large sausage up into smaller ones, unfortunately however she made it look extremely simplistic so by the time it was my turn I found it ever so slightly difficult to comprehend. A few practice goes and I was well away, linking up my sausages I must admit a few of them were of irregular size however. Ben and I then packed the finished sausages and labeled each of them.
Then the big test came of trying the product, we each sat eagerly awaiting for our sausages, to be cooked what do you know mine tasted miles better. Unfortunately for Ben allowing ladies to go first had not worked in his favour.
Marnie asked us to think of a product that could be new for Chestnut Meats, I believe that doing a goat casserole or stew at shows will encourage more traditional people to try the meat. As it is a combination of a traditional recipe with a modern meat. As Marnie told us today selling goat meat to women is much harder then selling to men, therefore I think by incorporating it into a traditional recipe could be beneficial.
All joking aside the process of seeing meat being turned into sausages and then eating the product, which was made by my own hands really did leave me amazed. If I do not receive the job from Chestnut Meats I will be extremely disappointed but also will be very thankful for the experience I have had today, as it is one I will not forget.