By Tianna Albrecht
Irvings Farm Fresh Ltd. is owned and operated by Alan and Nicola Irving and located near Round Hill, Alberta. Although both were very experienced in agriculture, they had no idea when they moved their family to Canada in 2005 that they would be raising pigs! When they arrived here, they realized that many of the British pork products they loved in England were not available in Alberta, so they purchased a batch of Berkshire pigs and decided to make their own sausages for family and friends.
As they tackled the learning curve of raising pigs, the sausages turned out to be pretty delicious, so their operation began an ongoing expansion. This included building a 1500 square foot butcher shop and opening a new retail space. Taking their business forward is an adventure for them, and to quote Alan’s grandfather, “The day you stop learning is the day you die!”
The black Berkshire pigs the Irvings raise and breed are docile and playful, which make them pretty cute! There are approximately 80-120 of them free-ranging on the farm at all times. The pork from Irvings Farm Fresh is also exceptional. It is prized for its richness and depth of flavour and is often referred to as “Kurobuta,” which is a Japanese term translated as “Black Gold.” It is widely considered to be the Kobe beef of the pork world.
The Irvings served up an impressive complimentary menu featuring Porchetta and Pulled Pork sandwiches to visitors on Open Farm Days. They even provided recipes for the pork and their bacon rosemary onion bread, which I can't wait to try at home. Their retail products include a wide variety of sausages, seasoned pulled pork, traditional English puddings, bacon and more cuts of pork than the average home cook like me would ever need!
Irvings Farm Fresh products can be found at markets all around Edmonton and retail stores such as the Italian Centre Shop, Wild Earth Foods and Careit Urban Deli. They are also featured at some of top restaurants in the city. To find a list of all their locations, visit their website at www.irvingsfarmfresh.com.
Last stop: Happy Acres U-Pick