Guy and Caroline started the Hesehesp farm massacre with free pigs: “The animals in the meadow have much less stress” (Kasterlee)

Jay Van de Berry and his wife Caroline Hermans pose with free-range pigs in Hesehesp’s meadow, Kasterlee’s new farm butcher. © Burt the Din

In their butcher’s workshop, Jay and Caroline turn meat into tripe, among other things. © Burt the Din

thumbnail: Guy Van de Berry and his wife Caroline Hermans pose with free-range pigs in the Hesehesp meadow, Kasterlee's new farm butcher.
thumbnail: Jay and Caroline process lean meat into tripe, among other things, in their butcher's workshop.

On the farm of Guy Van de Berry and his wife Caroline Hermans in De Hese in Kasterlee, free-grazing pigs now roam the meadow. With Hesehesp, the couple launched an entirely new farm slaughterhouse with pork always on the outside. “Because the pigs are in the meadows, they experience much less stress,” says Jay van de Berry.

Bart van den Langenberg

Everyone knows free range hens, but we don’t see many free range pigs roaming a meadow. Farmer Guy Van de Berry, 44, who is also a CD&V board member for Kasterlee Agriculture, and his wife Caroline Hermans, 44, have been running their classic De Hese pig farm in the Grootrees village of Kasterlee for twenty years. Currently there are still 1,500 pigs in their stables. At the same time, there are also thirty curly tails in a nearby meadow along the street. The couple decided to offer a sustainable alternative in addition to their traditional business. With the farm butcher shop Hesehesp, they will be serving out their own free pork starting Thursday, October 6th.

In addition to pastures with free-grazing pigs, Guy Van de Berry and Caroline Hermans butcher the farm run their own Hesehesp. © Burt the Din

“Having worked for twenty years, we asked ourselves if we were going to run our pig farm the same way for another twenty years. That was before the nitrogen problem arose,” explains Jay van de Berry. “At first we thought to start with new crops, but this is not very clear. We want to take the change into our own hands, so we started with free pigs.”

special food

Guy and his wife went to get their first high-quality pigs at the beginning of July from a breeder in Morchofen (Herentals). These animals have been in a fenced meadow all summer. Next to the field is their farm butcher Hesehesp with a butcher’s workshop and shop. “Pigs with free pasture are always outside and can reach their heart’s content in the ground. It is normal for pigs to really be under a lot of stress, but that is not the case with free range pigs,” says the pig farmer. This should have an effect on the quality of the meat. We also provide them with feed that is specially formulated to keep pigs healthy and resistant to the highest possible level. This food contains eucalyptus, turmeric, garlic, meadowfoam, cinnamon, and probiotics (good bacteria). Because we’re just getting started, we haven’t yet been able to taste the meat ourselves.”

Jay van de Berry, an alderman in Kasterlee, is butcher trained and can transform white tripe himself. © Burt the Din

meat processing

Guy and Caroline themselves transport four pigs every two weeks in a trailer to a slaughterhouse in Calmthot. The meat of butchered pigs goes straight back to Kasterlee. There the meat is processed, among other things, into tripe, bacon and pork chops. “We chop the bones, cut the carcasses and prepare the meat ourselves. I myself attended a butchery at an evening school and also get help from an experienced butcher,” says Guy Van de Berry. “With Hesehesp, we are responding to what society is looking for. Many people are eating less meat these days. But if they put meat on the table, they want to know where the meat comes from and the way the meat is transmitted. They also expect the animals to live a good life. Our target group is The average consumer looking for added value. We cannot offer our meat at supermarket prices like Colruyt or Delhaize, but our prices are comparable to those of a village butcher.”

The couple will be serving fresh pork in their shop at De Hese in Kasterlee from October 6. © Burt the Din

eyes owners

Young pigs reach hay when they weigh about twenty kilograms and leave again when they weigh 130 kilograms. “We also want to make our farm very visible. This is why the pigs are on the side of the street. A lot of passersby have stopped seeing pigs in recent months,” says Caroline Hermans. “There is a window between the shop and the butcher’s workshop so that customers can see for themselves that we are processing meat in a traditional way. Unlike many butchers on other farms, we do not sell meat packets. You can also come here to buy three pork chops. Meat can also be ordered Via our website, but must be obtained from here. Hesehesp also wants to sell beef and, in the long run, chicken meat via a high-quality supplier.

The official opening of the farm butcher shop at De Hese 3 in Kasterlee will take place on Saturday 1 October from 1.30pm to 8pm. Visitors can watch the pigs play and root themselves and can also sample free meat from the farm’s butcher.

Hesehesp’s Kasterlee’s pigs roam in a meadow all day long. © Burt the Din

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