By SAM BUTLER
An artisan cooked ham has been launched by Kennedy Bacon, the award-winning producer of a successful range of dry-cured bacon, gammon and pork sausages.
The company, which is based on a family farm near Omagh in County Tyrone and has won a host of national food awards, has developed the cooked and sliced ham for its retail range.
The cooked ham is the third innovative dry cured product from the company’s roasting operation.
The other recent products are roasted bacon flakes and roasted bacon bites, which are ideal for other food manufacturers, including pizza and sandwich manufacturers as well as home cooks.
Mervyn Kennedy, an experienced pig farmer and food producer, says the cooked ham slices are “a logical extension of the company’s portfolio of dry roasted bacon and ham products”.
He continues: “The artisan cooked ham and other products have been made possible by our extensive investment in new roasting technology.
“They’ve also been encouraged by the growth in interest in our artisan products from a number of food manufacturers in Northern Ireland and the Republic attracted by our reputation for quality and flavour-rich products over the past five years in particular.
“As a result of this important expansion, we are now able to offer retail and foodservice customers a comprehensive range of quality dry-cured products which are essentially handcrafted under my supervision from pork and bacon sourced from my own pigs,” he adds.
In addition to selling products at farmers’ markets, especially in Northern Ireland, Kennedy Bacon supplies a range of bacon to major supermarkets such as Sainsbury’s, Eurospar and SuperValu stores across the Province in addition to delis, farm shops and independent grocers.
It also supplies products to retailers in the Republic of Ireland.
The success of Kennedy Bacon products in the UK Great Taste Awards and at the Blas na hEireann Irish National Food Awards held at Dingle, County Kerry, has increased awareness in its products.
At Blas, the Northern Ireland company gained recognition for its bacon lardons aimed at chefs and foodservice operations.
A third generation farmer, Mr Kennedy launched the bacon processing business in a farm diversification project.
He concentrated on developing his own dry-curing technique to give his products a distinctive taste.
“What helps to set my bacon apart is my unique dry-curing technique. It’s my own recipe from my experience of rearing my own pigs.
“I also slice, prepare and package the bacon. This means the entire process is under my control, ensuring consistent quality and provenance.
“Everyone buying our products can count on total traceability, heritage and a commitment to high standards of animal welfare from a farm based enterprise,” he adds.
He decided to concentrate on dry-curing because he wanted to develop different products that didn’t involve pumping the bacon with water and preservatives.
“All my bacon is cured in as near to the traditional way as possible, using the minimum amount of cure, which leaves the bacon less salty.
This page is available to subscribers. Click here to sign in or get access.