The NeighbourFood Podcast
Avril Allshire-Howe chats about her family's free range pig farm and connecting with nature
Avril Allshire-Howe, along with her husband Willie and their two sons, William and Maurice, farms a herd of 100 crossbred pigs in Caherbeg, County Cork. It all started when Avril from West Cork and Willie from Carrigaline were looking for some land in the countryside and bought a house with running water on 3 acres. This expanded over time and since 1997 the farm has grown to a 58-acre enterprise containing forestry, agroforestry, free-range pigs, an on-site processing plant as well as an agritourism and wellness business. All of the produce is processed on-site and sold directly to customers under the ‘Caherbeg Free-Range Pork’ or the ‘Rosscarbery Recipes’ label. 50 acres of this 58acre farm is under forestry – a mix of Sitka Spruce and broadleaf woodland, along with eucalyptus groves planted around the farm.In this podcast, we hear their story and get some insight into how this family navigate such a diverse business and also hear of Avril’s great passion for Forest Bathing.Find out more on www.rosscarberyrecipes.ie
Islander Kelp - a look at kelp farming in Ireland and the benefits of seaweeds to us all
This week we are chatting to Kate Burns, founder, and CEO of Islander Rathlin Kelp. They are based on Rathlin Island, a small boot-shaped island between Ireland and Scotland, at the intersection of where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Irish Sea which as a result has some of the strongest tides in Ireland.In this conversation we learn about island life; the intricate process of how they farm their kelp and what products they make. We also learn about the nutritional benefits of seaweeds to all our diets and what other byproducts can be made from kelp. We discuss the environmental benefits of farmed and natural seaweed along our coasts. Kate also shares some of the challenges of small food producers and her hopes for the future of her industry.Find out more on www.islanderkelp.com
Brave Herders. Dexter cattle farming with father and son duo Jerry & Conor O'Riordan
Welcome to the NeighbourFood podcast. Our guests this week are father and son duo Jerry and Conor O'Riordan, who along with their brother Diarmuid have formed a cooperative of Dexter Cattle farmers in Munster called The Brave Herders.We spoke to them about their own family farm, why and how Jerry transitioned from dairy farming into dry cattle, which are now exclusively Dexter. How his sons Conor and Diarmuid brought technology and a group of like minded small farmers together as a co-operative to support each other, produce and sell their quality meat collectively both online, in selected butcher shops and NeighbourFood markets.Conor is hands on in the farm and has a particular interest in animal welfare and environmental sustainability, so we spoke to him about what this means for him and the work they do on the farm. And how we, as consumers, can play a part in this too by choosing a flexitarian diet and meat as a special treat.And then of course, we learn of course about Dexter cattle, a Celtic cow, who are small in size, but big in flavour and hear the story of Jerry’s first encounter with this traditional breed.Here are two Brave Herders.
Potato Potato - Ireland's love affair with the humble spud (replay)
This week, we decided to revisit a classic episode from the NeighbourFood podcast archives. As you may have heard, the World Potato Congress that was recently hosted in Dublin, we felt this was a topical and fun episode and a fun look at Ireland’s love affair with the humble spud.Throughout this episode we have with lots of contributors who tell us why this is.We speak to food writer John McKenna of McKenna's Guides about Ireland’s romantic connection to the food that let us down in our past and yet how we return time and time again, like a faithless lover to the spud we love so well.Did you know the process of flavouring crisps was invented here in Ireland? That’s right and Tayto Crisps are responsible for the world-famous cheese and onion flavour! We tracked down Peter Murphy, son of Joe “Spud” Murphy, the founder of Tayto who told us about his entrepreneurial dad, his Peter Pan existence and that Ah-Ha moment when they stumbled across the much-loved Cheese and Onion flavour combination.There are small farmers throughout the country growing potatoes for their local market. We speak to Maria Flynn of Ballymackenny Farm Potatoes who taking over the family farm, realised they were never going to survive on glowing Roosters and Queens alone. So they took a chance on growing heritage and heirloom speciality potatoes and targeting chefs with their more unusual produce. When the pandemic hit, they lost 100% of their customers overnight, so we hear their story of survival.Now, do you think it’s possible to live on Potatoes alone? We find a man in India who claims to do just that. The Aloo Baba lives in the mountains in Pushkar, India and eats 10kg potatoes a day!!!! That’s some feat, but he claims it keeps him young and gives him clarity. Vikrant Naidu, chef at The Lodge, Myrtleville, Cork steps in to translate and also gives us an insight into the culture of potatoes in his home county of India.And finally, potatoes are far more than a carbohydrate on our plate, they also make an interesting ingredient in spirits, such as Poitin. Michael O’Boyle of Baoilleach Distillery in Donegal explains why spuds were sometimes used in the mashbill of poitín makers back in the day and when he chooses to continue this tradition in his own poitin collection “Mulroy Bay”.Enjoy this spudcast full of poppy love.
Busy with Bees, a chat with beekeeper Mark Riordan of HiveMind.ie
Honeybees are an integral part of our natural world. They pollinate the majority of our crops and trees, giving us the food we eat and the air we breathe. Not only important for our ecosystem, but also for our economy as bees and other pollinators are responsible for a third of our food and contribute billions to the global economy each year. It’s important we look after them, because without bees we are nothing and we are all aware of the decline and threats to bees these days from habitat loss, pesticides and climate change.And this week’s chat with beekepper Mark Riordan, founder of HiveMind.ieWhile Mark got into beekeeping about 10 years ago, in somewhat an accidental fashion, his work with bees has developed into a fascinating enterprise called HiveMind, allowing companies and individuals to sponsor a hive. We’ll hear more of this journey, as well as his honey experiments into beer, fermenting and sometimes accidental kinds of vinegar.We also learn about what you find in typical Irish honey from hawthorn to blackberries and more.Mark of course also tells us of the importance of bees to every single one of us, how they are all key to our existence and the impact and threat that our environmental footprint is having on the bee population today.We mentioned during the course of this podcast a live beehive sound recording which you can download hereCheck out the Irish Beekeepers Association on www.irishbeekeeping.ie
Black Pudding, the story of Irish cuisine told through this ordinary and extraordinary food, with food writer Kate Ryan of flavour.ie
Black pudding, blood sausage, and for Irish and UK listeners this food will need no introduction. Loved on breakfast plates across the country, did you know that Black Pudding tells the story of modern Irish cuisine through its ingredients, history, recipe hand me downs and much more?We speak to food writer, Kate Ryan of flavour.ie who recently penned the article “The Aleph: The Story of Irish Food in One Pudding”. It is based on her studies in Irish Food Culture Post Graduate Course at University College Cork, where Kate did a research paper on the topic.We got stuck into the medieval process of making black pudding and how it’s done today. We learned about the exchange of recipes and meitheal of preparing food in the community. We talked about the history of this quintessentially Irish ingredient of fresh blood (now Protected Geographical Indication Recognised in parts of Ireland) and the ingenuity that is shown by butchers around the country in their preparation of pudding today. We then tested and compared three different black puddings, local to Kate’s hometown of Clonakilty. They were Rosscarberry Recipes, Clonakilty Black Pudding and Haulie O’Neil of MJ O Neils Artisan Butcher Shop in Clonakilty. She gave us some tips on to cook pudding at home and eat it at times, other than breakfast… who knew?!?!?Kate Ryan is a food writer and founder of Flavour.ie dedicated to championing Irish Food through writing and food adventures. Follow her on instagram ( @flavour.ie ) or facebook ( @flavourwestcork )
A chat with Sam Bishop, founder of Street Feast, a lovely lunch with your neighbours
We are chatting to community hero Sam Bishop this week. As well as many other strings to his bow, Sam is the founder of Street Feast; Ireland’s national day of community lunches which this year takes place on June 26, 2022. This is all about building community and tackling isolation, getting together with your neighbours to share food and enjoy conversation and camaraderie.We chat to Sam about the origins of Street Feast, all our experiences hosting events, how to go about hosting your own community Street Feast, the importance of community and we learn about the other things Sam is involved in such as the NeighbourHood Network, aswell as who is inspiring him at the moment.Head along to StreetFeast.ie to find out more. And for a Street Feast to happen, it doesn’t matter if you live in an apartment or house, all you need is a space to bring people together. There have been feasts organised in front gardens, on streets and greens, in car parks, laneways, local parks and community centres and can’t wait to see what you come up with!
Gaelic Escargot - snail farming in Ireland with Eva Milka
Snail farming is a pretty unusual one, at least for Ireland. But not for Carlow based snail farmer Eva Milka who started her business Gaelic Escargot (@gaelic_escargot) back in 2013 after a visit to France and discovering the delicacy.Now running the business with her partner Eoin, she told us about all the great things that this clean, sustainable and environmentally friendly type of farming can offer. From a small site, you can produce huge yields, with a surprisingly high profit and healthy product, packed full of protein and adored on dining tables throughout Europe.We spoke about how Eva got started in the business; what a day in the life of a snail farmer looks like; the worldwide snail market and how Irish snail farmers are popping up all over the country and this is kind of thanks to Eva and her snail farming school, which we also learn about!And if you’ve never tried, or been brave enough to taste a snail, then Eva has got lots of ideas of how to cook them up. Or indeed restaurants where you can taste Gaelic Escargots including her top recommendation of The Legal Eagle in Dublin, who serve them with roasted bone marrow, braised oxtail and garlic butter. For home cooks and adventurous chefs, you can order their snails through their website GaelicEscargot.comThis is also the point of contact for anyone who would like to know more about snail farming, dip their toes in the field or get some mentoring on this unusual, but fruitful farming method.
The Food Scene in Dingle with Mark Murphy of Dingle Cookery School
This week we are chatting to Irish food champion Mark Murphy, a Carlow man based in Dingle, Co. Kerry who filled us in on all things happening on the Peninsula. No stranger to our ears, you will Mark on the Today FM with his weekly recipes and regular TV slots on RTÉ. So without doubt, this was a lively and fun chat about all things Dingle, from Fungi to Food Heros!Mark is also one of the key members of the Dingle Food Festival which happens in October each year, so we spoke about what it’s like to run a festivalBut there are many other strings to Mark’s bow, as he is also the owner of The Little Cheese Shop in town. It’s a foodie emporium with over 90% Irish cheese, so we discussed the wonders of Irish cheeses.This was the conversation that kept on giving, because then we talked the joys of being out on the water and catching your own fish. Mark and the team at the Dingle Cookery School, which is his other enterprise, do a popular Catch and Cook session. So he filled us in on this and the other fun things they get up to during the year.https://dinglecookeryschool.com/