Northumberland farming couple launch Norse burger to celebrate event

A Northumberland farming couple have launched a burger "fit for a Viking" to mark the Norse Challenge 10k, which takes place this weekend

Mel McCaig
Mel McCaig

A Northumberland farming couple have launched a burger "fit for a Viking" to mark the Norse Challenge 10k, which takes place this weekend.

The all-day Sunday event this weekend starts at 9.30am and Mel and Jimmy McCaig are operating their hot food outlet and hog-roast at the event.

The McCaigs breed and home-rear their own line of pigs at The Buildings, near Alnwick. A year ago they launched a hot food business and wholesale butchery at Lionheart Enterprise Park.

Entrants in the Norse Challenge 10k, the first extreme event of its kind to be held in Northumberland, are expected to have warrior-like appetites according to the McCaigs.

Mel said: “The organisers are expecting hundreds of entries as well as visitors, to attend the event from all over the UK.

“We are making a special half-pound burger to sustain a Viking-type appetite and came up with the idea of a Norse-burger.

“The participants are fit, athletic types and have to endure numerous obstacles, water challenges and mudslides over the 10k course.

“We wanted to provide a meal in itself, offering complete traceability. However, we will also be offering a shoreline Viking breakfast and the usual range of home-reared bacon sandwiches, sausages and pies and an all day hog-roast.”

The opportunity to diversify the couple’s pig-rearing enterprise and add value to their core products has enabled the McCaigs to further develop their event catering.

Mel, who runs the food outlet, said: “We started Northumberland Reared Pigs on a small scale, and have been extremely successful by producing quality meat products under animal welfare-friendly conditions.

“The pigs are loose-housed on deep straw and have free-range access in open courts.

“The sows and weaners are able to roam and the availability to exercise helps build muscle, produce top quality meat and according to food experts, enhanced taste.

“Twelve months ago, we decided to take the original concept a stage further, expanded the farming operation, and have developed our own hot-food outlet offering bacon, sausage and hot pork rolls on the enterprise park.

“Given we breed and rear our own pigs, we are able to offer full traceability on all our home-produced meat products.

“The recent horse-meat scandal highlighted the benefits of having home-bred, home-reared and home-cooked food. We also stock top quality Northumberland beef as well as Northumberland lamb.”

Jimmy focuses on the pig husbandry side and considers it’s important to have the right type of animal as part of the breeding and rearing enterprise.

He said: “Quality and taste are important and traditional breeds have helped provide an additional edge to our produce. Northumberland Reared Pigs offer a combination of Welsh and Middle Whites boars crossed on to Large White sows. “We’ve carefully selected our boars for breeding purposes and have only purchased top quality foundation animals. We have invested in the best available bloodlines and our animals are reared on locally-sourced feed supplies. The results speak for themselves and we have more than 30 quality sows and 250 weaners within the herd.”

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