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How did it go?

As regular readers know we changed our business model last year.  It took us a lot of chatting and discussing with friends before going down the new route, but we decided to bite the bullet and go for it.

The major change was that we now ‘grow to order’.  Rather than selling meat piecemeal, customers can now book half a pig or a full pig, and come November or so they will have a freezer full of delicious free range pork and ham.  So how did it go?  It went very well so much so, we are now offering lamb in a similar way.  If you are new to the blog… we grow our animals completely free-range, using organic meal and use no herbicides or pesticides on the property.

The Pig Whisperer aka Day Dreaming Foodie

As you can imagine we stressed and worried about how smoothly it would all run.

  • In previous years, when we had pigs coming and going on a regular basis I never ‘obsessed’ about their weight.  However, I have to admit that I was convinced these guys were not growing at all.  I guess it was looking at them every day, knowing that they would all be going to slaughter around the same time…. they seriously seemed to just not grow!  Of course, they did, but as the saying goes ‘the watched pot….’
  • The system of growing to order, having a deposit, and issuing a balancing invoice prior to collection/delivery, is definitely less stressful than selling the meat ‘piecemeal’.
  • The major bonus for us, was that we got to meet pretty much all the customers.  Some came to collect and we sat around and had lunch.  Some even came and stayed over for a night.  So from that point of view it was wonderful to meet and spend time with like minded people.
  • And of course, the bonus to the customer was that they got to choose exactly how they wanted their meat butchered, AND they could spread the payments over the year.

This year (2018) we will be taking orders again.  We will grow your pig and/or lamb to order for you.

You can order a half pig or a full pig.  You can get together with friends or family, and share the cost/meat between you.  When the time comes we will send you a ‘cutting list’ so you can decide how you’d like your meat prepared.  Your meat will be ready for you at the end of November/early December….. just in time for your own Christmas ham!

Costings are the same as last year.  A deposit of €150 when booking.  A half pig will cost you €12.50 per kg.  A full pig €10 per kg.  In 2017 a full pig weighed out at around 50 kg.

Oh, and just so you know …. half a pig butchered will fit in 3 drawers of an under counter freezer.

To fill you in on the lamb we grow – we have been growing Zwartbles sheep for ourselves and family over the past few years.  The meat is totally delicious, and now we are offering the opportunity to a wider group.  Again you can decide on a half  (€85) or full lamb (€160) which will be butchered according to your instructions.  A full lamb weighs approx. 35 kg.

Zwartbles wether

So go on, have a chat with family and friends, and give us a call to order your pork or lamb.

Orders will be taken on a first come, first served basis.  Leave a comment below, or fill in the contact form here.

At this stage we cannot even guarantee that we will have enough pork/ham for everyone…. as the pigs haven’t even been born yet!

Friday photo

We’re almost there. Are you ready?

Christmas 2017

Friday Photo

We’ve had snow this week… and lots of people on Instagram loved this photo so thought I’d share…. not it has not been taken in black and white 🙂

footprints in the snow

Friday photo

A busy afternoon in the kitchen….making Christmas hampers.

Christmas Hampers

Friday Photo

When you are sitting in your first floor study, and someone comes knocking on the window!!!

Milk Chocolate Muscovy

Oldfarm Limoncino

My cointreau recipe has been getting much attention recently…. so I thought some of you might also like to try your hand at making Limoncino.  There’s still time to make a batch before Christmas.

Oldfarm Limoncino

I have a plan to try to make a coffee liqueur too… will keep you posted as to how that goes.

Once again this recipe is taken from Paulo Tullio’s book.

I’ve already made one batch this year, and the second batch is ‘brewing’ away.

This does improve with age.  However, it never lasts long enough to ‘age’ in this house.

I make extra bottles to give as gifts, and then keep a supply for ourselves!

Ingredients:

  • 6 x large lemons (rind only)
  • 500 ml Vodka or poitin
  • 200 grams sugar
  • A little water

Method:

Peel rind from well washed lemons avoiding the bitter pith.

Put the lemon peel into a jar with a lid.  (I have used an empty screw top wine bottle.) Cover with the half litre of vodka.  Store for 21 days, giving it a shake every few days.

When the time is up, strain the vodka from the bottle.  Dissolve 200 grams of sugar in as little water as possible over a low heat.  Add the sugar syrup to the strained alcohol and bottle it sterilised jars.

Store in a cool place.

When ready to serve chill and enjoy.

Recipe Testing

I’ve mentioned before how I am a girl who just can’t say no!  Yes, that is the title of a song…. and I am that person.

Despite being hectically busy over the summer with AirBnB guests, and Alfie in and out of hospital, when our friend and neighbour, Margaret Hickey, asked if we’d help with some recipe testing we jumped at the idea.

Margaret has written a book on the history of food in Ireland from the perspective of the ‘peasant’ food.  I must say we love the title : Ireland’s Green Larder

The first lot of recipes we were asked to test were scones, ‘curranty’ cake,  boxty and a boiled fruit cake.  As it happened we had AirBnB guests staying who were delighted to jump in and work with us on the scones and ‘curranty’ cake.  The boiled fruit cake was easy to do too.

I’m afraid we let the side down on the boxty recipe… we just ran out of time.

Boiled Fruit Cake

Then last week, in the final moments before the ‘go to print’ button was pushed, Margaret asked if I’d test a tea brack recipe.  Again ‘no problem’.

However…. I made a bit of a mess.

The recipe called for the fruit to be soaked in scalding hot tea and left overnight. As I headed to bed I wondered why ‘scalding’ hot tea?  Any time I make tea brack, it’s just tea leftover in the pot that I use.

It pays to read the instructions properly!!!

The reason for the ‘scalding’ hot tea was that you put the sugar in with the fruit! Doh!

Day 2, recipe test 2.  This time I did put the sugar in with the fruit, and of course, the reason for the ‘scalding’ hot tea was so blatantly obvious!

So over one weekend – we had two tea backs – just as well we had a couple of food bloggers visiting who were more than willing to ‘taste test’!!!

Margaret’s book, Ireland’s Green Larder, is a history book.  It is not another recipe book.  However, there are some recipes scattered throughout.

Ireland’s Green Larder

If you are interested in the development of the Irish food culture and how our eating habits have changed, you will love this book.  For instance, in the not too distant past offal was way more popular than it is now.

Did you know that the pig was referred to as ‘the gentleman who paid the rent’? There are many other interesting facts and stories.

Margaret is into the final few days for you to ‘pledge’ your support for her book. Check out this video where Margaret tells you more about her book, and while there you can pledge from as little as €15.00.  Pledging closes at midnight tomorrow, 27th.  The book will be published between March and May next year.

Another great idea for a Christmas gift for the history buff or foodie in your life?