When we moved here fifteen years ago it was with the intention of leading a more self-sufficient and sustainable lifestyle. We wanted our children to know where their food originated from and to eat the best we could provide for them.
Life often doesn’t quite go as we’d expect though does it… our original plans changed. The cost and time it took for house renovations seemed to go on and on and the small holding dream has at times seemed unachievable. When we sat down at the beginning of this year and talked about how we could improve our diet without the costs associated with buying organic meat but eat more ethically, we came up with a plan.
Firstly we’d dramatically reduce our red meat intake and eat more fish. Secondly we’d only buy free range chickens and joint them rather than buy separate breasts or legs. Lastly (for this year) we’d book ourselves onto an Oldfarm pig rearing course and find out exactly what’s involved in rearing pigs for the table.
The course took place this weekend in Alfie and Margaret’s small holding in Tipperary. We covered everything from where to begin right through to breeding and slaughtering before heading outside with the group to meet and feed the Oldfarm pigs. If was such an enjoyable, informative and interesting day that we’ve put our names down for two piglets! Next week Mr G will be applying for a herd number as well as fencing and building an arc in preparation for the two new arrivals that will remain nameless!
The course included a delicious lunch made by Margaret of Chickpea and Sausage Hotpot and Deluxe Tomato and Sausage Pasta where we were able to taste the flavours of free range pork for ourselves (will never buy factory farmed pork again!). We were truly spoilt however when we were invited to stay for dinner and tasted the scrummy Pulled Pork cooked by Alfie in his Big Green Egg. Margaret accompanied it with a warm rice salad that I’m hoping she’ll add to her blog recipes soon!
The Oldfarm course is well worth taking if you want to rear pigs but if it’s not something you have the space or stomach for, we can definitely vouch for the pork they sell. The food we eat should be bona fide and flavoursome, Oldfarm’s are in abundance.
As corruption in the food industry is being unearthed daily, finding and supporting honest food producers that are passionate about where and how their animals are reared is vital wouldn’t you say? I’ll let you know how we get on with our own venture into the livestock world!