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Getting your food from farm to fridge - farmers show you how

Irish farmers are tweeting about their day-to-day lives, work and produce over @TweetingFarmers.

From this week's tweeter:
From this week's tweeter: "Happy as a pig in . . . "
Image: @TweetingFarmers via Twitter

IS IT ORGANIC? Free-range? Corn-fed?

We have a lot of questions about our food these days. Where it came from? How was it treated? How was it processed?

Despite the interest consumers have in their food, there is often a disconnect between farmers and those who end up eating their produce, according to Anne Brady, co-founder of Farmers Feed Families.

“We wanted to promote agriculture through the work farmers do. I have been living in Dublin for the past 10 years and a lot of friends had no idea about what farmers do on a daily basis,” she says, explaining how she and her business partner Jessica Zaffino hit upon the idea of @TweetingFarmers.

“It is a platform that allows farmers to talk to different people who can find out what happens on their farms and where their food comes from.”

The take-up from farmers since the 1 June launch has been surprisingly positive.

“We put a call-out to producers and we already have about 20 farmers lined up and hoping to get more as we go along, including a Tweporter for the National Ploughing Championships this year.

“It is a great way of promoting Irish produce and letting people know why it is so good.”

Martin Conroy, who operates a specialist pig farm in east Cork, is this weeks Tweeting Farmer. He and his wife Noreen breed Freerange Pedigree Saddleback and Gloucester Old Spot pigs and sell their bacon and pork products at Midleton, Mahon Point and Douglas Court Farmers Markets.

“Five days a week we are removed from our customers, so it is good to be able to connect with them,” Conroy says of Twitter and the new initiative.

He echoes Brady’s sentiments about a “disconnect” between farmers and the general public. However, there may be a reticence on the customer’s part to fill that gap.

“I put up a number of pictures today about the process. There was no gore but I showed how we got from a slaughtered pig to the packets. There was no feedback on the first four pictures but then the interaction started again when they saw the packets of rashers and sausages.”

Getting your food from farm to fridge - farmers show you how
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  • Hanging

  • Shoulders

  • Mince

  • Almost there

  • Sausages

“People are generally uncomfortable with that,” he continued. “They want to know the animal had a good life, that is all. They want to see the animals in the field, know they are doing well and that we feed them.”

Conroy takes that responsibility seriously.

“Fifty-two weeks of the year, come hell or high water, we’ll make sure the pigs are comfortable and their quality of life is good.

“It is a tough time [for farmers]. But we survive because we think outside the box.”

Check out (and follow) @TweetingFarmers on Twitter>

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