Posts Tagged ‘pork’

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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New arrivals…

This week has been a really busy week for us here at Oldfarm.

We have had 25 new arrivals!

Perky and her litter

Perky and Floppy, two of our Saddleback sows had litters this week.  The Daddy was a Landrace/Saddleback cross, so the litters are a mix of black and white and pink and black pigs.  All for the sake of variety!

Perky was first to produce…. and it was really only luck that we spotted her and realised how close she was to having them!

For the uninitiated, the pregnancy time for pigs is 3 months, 3 weeks and 3 days! All very well if you know when they’ve been busy????  However, Farmer Alfie has a theory that the sows also get very cross when their time is due, so he had noticed that Perky (normally quite a placid pig) was very cross last week.  Then on Tuesday afternoon we happened to be in the garden, and I glanced over to see her pulling dry grass from everywhere she could.

It is quite fascinating to watch the sows when they are ready to have their litter. They literally build a nest!  They scout about for their preferred spot and then start nest building.

Last year Lucy (our oldest sow) went to a lot of bother with her nest building.  She managed to find some plastic put that on the ground first, and then piled straw and dry grass on top!  They really are quite clever.

Back to Tuesday and Perky’s nest building… to help her along we gave her an extra bale of straw which of course made her task easier.

And then on Wednesday morning when we checked there she was with 12 new babies.  Four days later, they are thriving and if the sun is out and there is any warmth at all they are out and about with Mammy.  Once again nature is terrific to watch, even at this tiny stage (they are the size of pups) their instinct is to route!

Having fun outdoors!

All of this, of course, does make you feel really bad about pigs that are born in those factory-style schemes.  Born on concrete, mother not able to move, never getting to route about in the earth.  Definitely not a good life.

Our pigs, do end up on the table, but they live a healthy outdoor life before then.

On Thursday, Floppy had her litter…. she had 13 babies…. she always has the biggest litter.

Cuddling up together...group hug piggy style!

Look at these little guys – just hours old!

Now the task ahead is pork sales, suckling pig, bonham sales or even how about ‘adopt a pig’??  More later!

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So here we are at the end of January which is tagged as the bleakest month of the year. What could be nicer then than sitting down to a nice piece of roast pork with crackling? Well nothing really!

So with this in mind, Farmer Alfie, has decided it is time for another pig to go to the Happy Hunting Ground in the Sky!

Seriously though, we have had some great feedback from customers who had some of our pork and bacon prior to Christmas….

I remember you asked for feedback on the pork and I am happy to say we were
delighted with it.  We had the shoulder roast the other day and it was

I had one of the chops on Friday night, and I can safely tell you that is the best tasting pork I have tasted since I was in Spain last year, where I had some Iberico pork (and those pigs are fed on acorns)!  My 11 year old was also very impressed with the sausages!

Those of you following my blogs will know that our pork is much darker than that which you buy in the supermarket (probably akin to dark turkey meat).  It is also much much tastier, as the comments above verify.

When we started out selling our pork we opted for the ‘box’ system.  We chose this route as otherwise we found everyone wanted to have pork steak!  Guys there are only 2 pork steaks per pig!  So that wasn’t going to work!  We offer customers a choice of 5 kg, 10 kg or 15 kg ‘box’ or, of course, you can opt to buy a half or a whole pig.

So if you would like to taste our truly yummy pork… contact us and we will send you on the details.

Or follow our progress on our Facebook page.

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The last few days have been quite hectic!  So much so that I have not had an opportunity to even turn on the computer not to mind write up blog!

I travelled to Dublin on Thursday evening last in preparation for the presentation I had to make to the panel at National College of Ireland on Friday.  This was the final part of the Entrepreneurship module I had started there in September.  I had deliberated for weeks on what I would write the requisite Business Plan on, and in the end decided I should do it on Pigs and Pork and how we could develop a Pork Business here.  I think the presentation went well and I got lots of great suggestions as to the direction that we should consider for the enterprise…. thank you to the members of the panel!  So this week I will be doing some more research and checking out some of the websites they told me about.

After the presentation, I drove back down home …. and then had to head back to Dublin on Saturday morning with pork deliveries.  I had hoped that the butcher would have had meat ready for collection on Wednesday evening prior to my trip to Dublin, but unfortunately it was Saturday morning when it was ready.  So once boxes were sorted, it was back into the car and off to Dublin with me again.

Farmer Alfie could not do the run to Dublin as he was busy trying to finish off renovations to the livingroom in preparation for visitors coming for Christmas, and he was also the Stagehand for the Lorrha Amateur Dramatics group who had their annual play on over the weekend.

However, it was a good trip – five deliveries to be made and all to new customers. That has to be good.  It is especially good, as when we add in the local deliveries as well, we’ve once again been left with no pork for ourselves!  Needless, to say, Farmer Alfie is quite disgusted that we have none left for ourselves – he is going to have to wait until after Christmas now for pork!  At least we have some of our own ham for Christmas dinner….. at the moment anyway!

By the way, the turkeys are putting on a nice bit of weight!  So they should be good by next week!

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Rearing Pigs…

I cannot tell you how often I’ve been asked if I get sad and sentimental when pigs go off to become pork and bacon!  I can honestly answer ‘no’…..

If you have to go out and trudge through mud no matter what the weather I am afraid you do become quite immune to it all! I took some photographs this morning, which was bitterly cold – we’d had a hard frost last night, and the fog has not lifted all day.

All the advice is that you shouldn’t name the pigs, and we have not tended to do so.  We certainly haven’t given names to the gilts and boars born this year.  Although, having said that the sows do all have names and quite distinct personalities.

And then, of course, there’s the boar – Clarence – Farmer Alfie’s pet!


Clarence, although he is the biggest of all, he is also the real softie in the herd.  I have seen the goats climb all over him while he sleeps and he just ignored them…. the other smaller boars just clamber all over him too.  He likes nothing better than a scratch and rub…. you should seem him lie down and roll over for that!  If he ever goes for pork or bacon it will probably be more like that Japanese massaged beef (kobe!)…. and be so totally expensive!! He’s also rather partial to grapes!  Farmer Alfie was hand feeding him grapes this morning!

Then there’s the sows…. Lucy, the biggest, the slowest but boy is she the boss!  She’s also rather partial to bananas… see the photographs below.

Lucy and Perky are best friends. Perky…. well she’s called that because her ears are perkier than the others… and she hears things that the others completely miss.  Perky’s favourite foods cabbage and potatoes!

Floppy – she’s the noisiest of all… she seems to like the sound of her own voice, or she’s always giving out.

Pinky – she loves oranges and tomatoes.

It is fascinating watching them all route through the feed to grab their favourites, then run off somewhere quite to eat it and then come back for more.

This week we’ve had orders coming in for our next batch of pork which will be ready in two weeks time.  Feedback from last deliveries has been great with comments like ‘best pork I’ve had in decades’!  And from all accounts we had the sausages are a great success.  To those customers we would say please keep spreading the word, we do appreciate it!

And by the way if you do read this blog, please feel free to pass on the link to others!

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