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If you follow our Twitter or Facebook pages, you’ll have seen some obscure references to a ‘secret’ earlier in the summer.  Well here is the big reveal!

Earlier this year Lidl (a German supermarket) and RTE (our national TV station) launched Taste of Success.  They sent out the call across the country for budding entrepreneurs to come up with a product that would fit into the mix of products already available in Lidl stores.

There was a magnificent prize available – €100,000, which includes marketing support, product royalties, a cash prize and the chance to see your product featured and sold on the shelves of 141 Lidl stores across Ireland.

Without any hesitation Alfie decided to enter his free-range pork burger into the competition.  There were hundreds of entries, and Alfie’s pork burger was chosen to go through to the Munster finals.

Alfie travelled to Cork in June to be interviewed by the Munster Regional Mentor, Martin Shanahan of Fishy Fishy.  He was only given 24 hours notice of the interview, so there was no time to prep some burgers and bring them as requested to ‘taste’.  Despite not being able to bring a sample of his product to the interview Alfie got through to the next stage.

Two days later on a scorching hot day at the Cork Summer Fair, the 8 finalists from Munster cooked and presented their products to the professional judges – Paul Flynn, Lidl Ambassador and of The Tannery, Dungarvan

; and Martin Shanahan, Fishy Fishy, Kinsale.  Then it was time for a select group of the public to vote, and make their judgements as to which four products they thought were good enough to go through to the next round.

The tension while waiting for the announcement for the four finalists was palpable.  The products were diverse and interesting, and all finalists had put their heart and soul into the competition.

RTE Interview

RTE Interview

As this was all being filmed for a TV series there were many, many takes…. and lots and lots of hanging around.  A couple of minutes of TV takes a horrendous amount of time to film!

The good news for North Tipperary is that Alfie’s free-range pork burger was one of the four finalists to go through to the next round.

We had the TV crew here for a morning during the summer too…. filming Alfie in his ‘natural’ environment.  I was perfectly happy to be the behind the camera person/catering manager that day.

The show is aired on RTE1 at 8.30 pm on Tuesday evenings, so far we’ve had the Leinster and Connacht finals.  We’ve been amazed at how many people we’ve actually known who entered.  Tonight it is the turn of the Dublin’s finalists.   Alfie’s first show will be on Tuesday 11th November.  If you’re quick-eyed you might spot Alfie on the promotional advert.

Did he get through the next round?  Sure, that would spoil the surprise… you’ll just have to watch and see.

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One of my favourite foods is roast pork… especially the crackling.  Now, if you are like me and like roast pork and crackling, try buying pork anywhere with the skin still on.  I have to ask my butcher to cut a piece specially for me and to leave the skin on.  So having got fed up of having to do that, we decided to keep pigs for ourselves, and you’ve read some of the episodes of live with our pigs.

In recent months we’ve taken 3 pigs to the abattoir, and in fact, have been extremely pleased with the response from customers as to the meat.  Our little artisan business has grown and developed organically through sending out emails to family and friends, spreading the word about our pork.

One of the comments we have had from some people is that the meat is often quite fatty.  It is, that is the nature of free-range and rare breed.  It was interesting to see the comments on Ear To The Ground, RTE’s farming programme last week where they discussed the Irish Pork industry.  Take a look…. it is towards the end of the programme, but it is worth watching the conversion!  http://short.ie/6eheh6

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