What was the inspiration behind setting up a sustainable farm in Northern Ireland?
I’ve always wanted to farm. After finishing a degree in rural management, I took over a small farm that my parents had bought, to live "the good life". I wanted to continue to run the farm with that sustainable mindset. The real kickstarting concept was seeing billy kids being euthanised at birth on dairy farms. It just didn’t seem right, when we are in a time where people are talking about food waste and wanting to feed more people, that this food was being wasted. It hit home for us how much we wanted to champion this issue. We've continued down this route, rearing billy kids and bull calves which are by products of the diary industry, meaning we are preventing food waste before it even becomes food. We have also branched out into a more regenerative model, rearing free range pigs, working with local game, and growing seasonal vegetables as part of our farms rotation.
Who buys your fresh, local, and seasonal produce?
We have a farm shop and butchery on site and sell from the farm. We also go along to shows and markets, to make more connections with a wide variety of people. When it comes to our events, we do things a little differently because our aim is to be always introducing sustainability and ethical meat production to new people. We don’t always go for what will be guaranteed to be popular but what we would like to see on the market, this means we’re always bringing in new people. The aim is to show people how the food system works, to bring them on the journey with us. All events we put on are par educational and we also go into local schools for talks.
Have you noticed an increase in interest in sustainable food after the pandemic?
Yes, sustainability is becoming more popular. I have been able to see a steady increase over the last 4-5 years but, over the last 10 years, I have seen sustainability become more and more important to consumers when they are picking products. Especially with COP26, I think it's just at the forefront of more peoples thinking.
What are your best sellers?
Our Billy Burgers are very popular, we sell out often and, when we do, people complain. My personal favourite thing that we do is the asado a la cruz - a South American Style BBQ. We place a whole goat on an iron cross over an open fire, it’s absolutely delicious.