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Artisan ham company ramps up production

Royal Warrant artisan ham producer DukesHill is working around the clock to meet the high demand for their gammon, ham and sweet treats such as mince pies and handmade Christmas cakes ahead of the festive period. 

The Shropshire-based business is known for its dedication to providing the finest traditionally cured hams, free-range bronze turkeys, and artisan fine foods. To cope with demand, DukesHill will increase its workforce by 200% over the coming months. 

During the peak Christmas period between October and December, DukesHill plans to cure over 15,000 outdoor bred pork legs across a variety of products, including traditionally cured cooked and uncooked hams, bacon, slices of porchetta, ham hock and pork products.

Over 40,000 hams were sold during the festive season in 2022, a number the luxury food producer is hoping to exceed in 2023. They also expect to distribute two thousand of their specially reared turkeys, tens of thousands of handmade mince pies and over 7,000 of DukesHill’s very own handmade Christmas puddings, as people stock up for the big day.

Last year’s statistics show the nation is opting for more gammon around Christmas time than ever before. Data collected by Kantar shows that retailers experienced a 23.6% increase in value of gammon sales and 5.1% uplift by volume year-on-year, of gammon products in the four weeks to Christmas Day 2022.

Mark Gallagher, CEO of DukesHill, said, “The months running up to Christmas are the busiest at DukesHill and right now our dedicated team is working hard. Our Christmas brochures have landed, and we’ve already seen a 35% increase in customers placing their Christmas orders earlier this year.” 

One of DukesHill’s farmers, Andrew Tomson from Peddars Pigs Ltd, plays a crucial role in helping meet the demand. He said: “As a pig farmer of 45 years, our commitment is to ensure the wellbeing of every pig under our care. I firmly believe that raising healthy pigs on straw is about providing them with a life of comfort and respect in an environment where they thrive. This produces the best quality pork and we know these animals have lived the best life possible.”

DukesHill’s free range bronze turkeys are reared especially for the company in Kent by a highly-experienced third-generation turkey-farming family who have been rearing turkeys for 40 years. Their turkeys roam freely in grassy paddocks and meadows and are fed a natural cereal-based diet.