Posts Tagged ‘organic’

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!

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And yes, there is ‘trouble’ with labels.

There are the ‘labels’ we attach to certain people, and there are the labels on our food. Here comes my rant about the food labels.

Do you read your food labels?

There are so many terms that are abused here in Ireland.  What’s it like where you are?

We use the word ‘artisan’ for so many things, and I’m sure most people have never even looked the word up in a dictionary.  Here’s the definition from the Oxford dictionary : Artisan (n) – skilled manual worker or craftsman.  So can a large factory-type set up, employing 100 people plus, running production lines, be producing an ‘artisan’ food product?  I guess you could say that the machines are being run by skilled workers, but is it not an abuse of the word?

Freerange hens, pigs and dog :)

Freerange hens, pigs and dog 🙂

Then there is ‘organic’.   Now this is much clearer – or is it?

I’ve often asked people what their perception of ‘organic’ is, and often times they are just so wrong.  While there are strict guidelines with regard to feeding and caring of the animals…. organic does not necessarily mean ‘free-range’.  Depending on the breed of animal, they can be raised indoors, but must spend some part of their life outdoors.  However, not necessarily all of their lives.

Some will say, that in winter it is better for the animal to be indoors.  Let me tell you, in the case of pigs, they are damned clever, and will not go outside if it is freezing, wet and cold.  Would you?  Especially if you’ve got a silly human who will bring you food!

Anyone who has read my post about the process and procedures we had to go through to receive the QMark for our free-range pork will be aware of the hoops that were jumped.  You will also be aware that we are completely and utterly anti-gmo’s in this house.

And here’s a very scary fact ….. if you go to the co-op to buy your animal feed, it is labelled as containing gmo.  However, although that feed has been fed to an animal whose meat will end up in the food chain, there is no legislative requirement to label the human food as containing gmo.

After months of negotiations for the Q Mark, here’s what was agreed as the free-range definition:

Free range farmed:  a type of animal husbandry where pigs have free access to fields/woodland with defined boundaries for all or most of their natural life.  They receive their nutritional needs from prepared natural feed or from pasture or forage depending on the season.

And, again, while there are producers out there that are termed ‘free-range’ and then spoil it all by feeding gmo contaminated feed.  You need to check what they are feeding their animals.  Well, if you care you will.

Another thing, some producers say their animals are free-range.  They perhaps allow some of their animals access to the outdoors – just to portray the right picture.  However, the majority are locked up in sheds.

And the biggest offender of all????

The word ‘natural‘.  You’ve got to watch this video…. it may be a little exaggerated, but then again maybe it is not.

So my warning to you all folks?   If you really care what you feed yourself and your family, check what the animals are being fed.

Do you know how your Christmas turkey has been raised?

Do you know what the pig that died to provide you with that Christmas ham was fed?

Do you care about how these animals lived their lives?

Ask the questions, folks.  Ask can you come see where they live, what they are fed?

Go shake the hand of the farmer and find the answers to the questions.


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