People get nostalgic about pigs, about pork. Attend any pig-in-a-day class, and you get to see adults who positively romanticise the pig, and see themselves surrounded by happy piglets, happy in shit.
The reality of pig-rearing, however, is a little more complex. Take the pork produced by Dave and Diana Milestone, of Andarl Farm, near Brickens in Co Mayo, for instance. Their pig adventure began with a Great White sow, Doris. But the couple then spent 3 years seeking out the right breed to get the fat-lean ratio they wanted. This resulted in the purchase of Harry, a Hyroc boar, which is a cross between a Duroc and a Pietrain, to breed with their Andarl Farm sows.
The result of their all their hard work is something they call Velvet Pork. And the pork is indeed velvety: tender, sweet, subtle and disarmingly delicious. Like the best pork from the best farms, it cooks perfectly whether you are roasting or frying, reflecting the gentle care that goes into rearing these smart animals. Andarl is right up there with the small handful of artisans who produce the best pork throughout Ireland, and the good news, for those of us who live far away from the various outlets where they sell their pork in Counties Mayo and Galway, is that you can get Dave to post you a box of the Andarl pork. We got everything from pork and apple burgers, superb dry-cured rashers, delicious sausages, beautiful roasting joints, and there is still a small ham in the freezer, awaiting the right special dinner.
In County Mayo you can buy the pork from De Burca's in Castlebar, at Ryan's in Cong and Mark's Meats in Dunmore. Sheridan's of Galway sell the pork products and some of the best Mayo restaurants feature it on their menus. You can also buy straight from Dave and Di at the Boyle Farmer's Market on Saturday morning.
Dave and Diana Milestone
Andarl Farm, Brickens, Claremorris, Co Mayo
Tel: 094-938 0804
Andarl Farm is on Facebook