TIM WILSON: THE GINGER PIG
Revered as a culinary gem within the Borough Market community, The Ginger Pig was started over 20 years ago by Tim Wilson who now employs 100 members of staff. The Ginger Pig places an emphasis on quality, taste, welfare and service.
How would you describe your company and what you sell?
are both butchers and farmers. We have seven London butchers shops where we sell native breed pork, poultry, lamb and beef reared naturally and slowly. We have two farms in North Yorkshire where we farm Tamworth, Berkshire and Gloucester Old Spot pigs, Longhorn cattle and traditional sheep breeds, it is also home to our main butchery and bakery where our infamous sausage rolls and pies are made. We also work with a network of like-minded farmers across the UK to help supply our shops and wholesale clients with the best quality meat.
What is your role within the business?
I am founder, accidental farmer and owner of the business. I used to be in the antiques trade and then moved onto buying old houses, doing them up then selling them on. One of these was a 30-acre smallholding in Nottinghamshire. It was an old-fashioned mixed farm and very picturesque. But once the animals were taken away, it looked dead. The pig sty was just a broken brick shed and the duck pond was just mucky water. To put some life back, I bought some old-fashioned turkeys and chickens and I got some Tamworths because if you are going to have pigs, they might as well be big and colourful. And once I had a boar and four or five gilts, there were suddenly piglets everywhere.
From there it was only a small jump to getting some Longhorn cattle and sheep, and before I knew it I had a working farm on my hands and needed a way of retailing these slow grown, naturally reared animals.
When did Ginger Pig move to London Bridge and why?
Borough Market is an important location for The Ginger Pig as it was my first foray into the London food scene. Back then it was the mid ‘90s and we weren’t as polished as we are now. I would drive down from Yorkshire on a Friday night in a beaten up van with the meat in the back, arrive in the early hours of Saturday morning, set up and work throughout that day. Then at the end of the day I would get back into the van and drive north again.
These first customers of ours and this location was the sounding board for how The Ginger Pig might work in London, and fortunately it went well. From this early success we were able to take on staff and set up a second, more permanent bricks and mortar site in Marylebone, from there we’ve continued to grow. All The Ginger Pig shops mean something different in terms of The Ginger Pig story and the brand’s journey, but Borough Market is particularly special, this is where Ginger Pig began.”
For example, in the winter months it can get pretty cold, but the staff at Monmouth Coffee look after us and bring us coffees, and a very generous lady who works on a nearby cake stall often brings us over treats, so it’s a fairly friendly environment. The happier you are at work the better you perform, so the atmosphere is great in that respect.
What do you think about the London Bridge neighbourhood?
London Bridge is a busy but fun place to work. We have our regular customers who have been coming to get their meat from us for over two decades, as well as tourists and those who have come from further afield to see the market, soak up the atmosphere and buy some great quality food. It has certainly become much more of a destination for Londoners than in previous years, and we’re able to now reach new people every week. After work, the staff in the shop will sometimes go for a well-deserved drink in the local pubs, it’s important for the team to get to know each other better so that they can work more effectively together. The transport links are good as well, some of our butchers come from quite far outside of central London, so being close to Waterloo is very helpful.
What has been your best discovery in the London Bridge neighbourhood since you moved here?
Having a shop in Borough Market is fantastic, when I’m in London I don’t often have a lot of time to spare but when possible I like to just walk around the market and take in the atmosphere. I know the girls in the London office often combine trips to our stall with a visit to Konditor & Cook opposite for brownies, they say they are needed for meetings, but I’m not convinced.
Click here to visit The Ginger Pig website.
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