It suddenly dawned on me this week that I have never written about our courses!
Running the pig rearing courses really came about quite by accident. We were working away raising the pigs, selling the pork and we often had people suddenly arrive on the door-step (literally) and start quizzing us about how we raise the pigs, how we market the pork, how we got started.
So we stopped and had a think. If people were calling on us to get this information there must be a market. Right?
So we ran our first Oldfarm pig rearing course, and over the years they have grown in popularity.
I thought in this post, however, I would share some of the reasons why people come on the course and what they hope to gain from the day? Invariably the answers are much the same….
- cannot buy decent pork or bacon, so we thought we’d grow our own
- I worry about what is being fed to animals
- I’d like to be a summer pig farmer! Not going to be a winter pig farmer – that’s too much hardship
- It is the next step on our aim to be sustainable.
- I’m not sure…. I have a ‘romantic’ idea that I’d like to keep pigs…. so today will make me realise the reality
- My grand-parents always kept pigs
We’ve had chefs who want to do the ‘farm to fork’ element. We’ve had people who currently live in suburbia (and maybe keep a few hens in the back garden), but dream of one day having a small-holding. We’ve had others who are thinking of starting a business of their own. And most recently of all we had a group of allotment owners from Balbriggan who are keeping pigs at one end of the allotment – now how’s that for an idea for other allotment owners.
Before each course we wonder what the people will be like, will the group gel, will there be good repartee with the group and with us.
Without fail, I think I can honestly say we have met some lovely people. The conversation over lunch is always about food and the provenance of food. The course is scheduled to finish at 4 p.m. invariably there’s another pot of tea made and we all sit about talking for another hour or so – exchanging food related stories and recipes.
It always pleases us when people decide yes they are going to go ahead and keep pigs – and we love to hear their adventures into pig farming. And it is also good if people decide that they don’t want to keep pigs – that’s a learning too!
If you’d like to learn about pigs, we still have a couple of places left on our next course on Saturday, 15th June. Or keep an eye on our website for details of upcoming courses.