Lincolnshire is deservedly famous for its fantastic food. Voted Britain’s Top Food Spot on the Love British Food website in 2011, the county produces one-eighth of all the food eaten in the UK and grows a quarter of all the nation’s vegetables.
The food industry is big business in Lincolnshire: it employs more than 68,000 people if you include farming, processing and transportation. The south of the county, once marshy but now drained and intensively cultivated, is particularly rich in fertile soil. Here the landscape is dominated by open fields producing all manner of crops, from green vegetables and salads to cereals, sugar beet, potatoes and peas.
Elsewhere producers concentrate on pork, beef and poultry, while a major seafood processing sector is focused on Grimsby. Lincolnshire is the largest potato, wheat, and poultry producer in the UK and the county processes 70% of the nation’s fish.
Lincolnshire is well known for a range of traditional delicacies which will always be associated with the county. Many are made with pork, reflecting the county’s long history of raising pigs for meat. Many older Lincolnshire folk can recall the days when most families kept a pig in the back yard and killed it in the autumn to provide food over the winter.
Haslet, for example, is a tasty pork meatloaf, typically flavoured with herbs including sage, sliced and served cold. Stuffed chine is an 18th century recipe and unique to Lincolnshire. A neck chine cut of pork soaked in brine then scored and stuffed with herbs, chiefly parsley, before being gently simmered. When sliced cold, the chine reveals stripes of pink meat and green herb stuffing.
Lincolnshire is one of the few regions of England that still retains its own style of sausage: ours is coarser than most, characterised by herbs (sage again) and a high pork content. You can buy ‘Lincolnshire sausages’ in most supermarkets but to taste the genuine article you need to visit an authentic Lincolnshire butcher. The campaign to achieve protected status for the Lincolnshire sausage (such as that enjoyed by Parma ham and Champagne) continues.