Beechlawn Organic Farm is one of Ireland’s leading organic vegetable farms. Located in Poolboy, Beechlawn produces over 20 different vegetable crops. It is run by local man, Padraig Fahy and his wife, Una. They met when they were both students at the Agriculture College in Dromcolliher, Co. Limerick and have now been in business for 14 years.
They now have 14 members of staff between those who work full-time and part-time with over half of them being from the local area. “The top three crops that we grow would be kale, beetroot and leeks. After that then we grow about two acres of broccoli, cauliflower, celery, tomatoes, cucumbers, spinach, chard and Brussels sprouts”, said Padraig.
Recently, the Farm got their Bord Bia accreditation. “We’re the third organic vegetable grower in the country to have Bord Bia accreditation so that’s good and it’ll give us the opportunity to start supplying Tesco nationwide as well”, he continued. Beechlawn supply Supervalu’s nationwide for their supermarket brand but also produce their own brand through direct relationships with between 30 and 40 stores in Galway, Clare and Dublin.
In the last month, the business has taken a new direction. They have begun exporting kale to Dubai. Mr Fahy stated that there were a lot of hurdles to overcome to get to this stage – health checks, checking the quality of the kale and each week a new exporting license has to be signed off. The kale is produced locally at the farm and is distributed on behalf of Beechlawn by a distribution company in Dublin.
Organic vegetables are grown without chemicals and fertilisers and other nasty pesticides. There is a much higher density of vitamins and minerals that your body needs in organic vegetables than in inorganic vegetables. “A lot of people when they buy from us it is the taste that hits them and they come back for the taste and also the variety of produce that they can get”, added Padraig. The organic vegetables soak up all the goodness in the soil, all the nutrients that your body needs. They also grow two unique types of vegetables which are very hard to get in Ireland – Romanesco cauliflower and flower sprouts.
When asked about doing business in Ballinasloe, Padraig believes that it is a great area for it. “It’s strategically located. In terms of access in and out, the road networks are great”, he said. With the M6 motorway so close, it makes commuting to and from the town much easier. He stated that in order for others to believe in your business, you first have to believe in your own ability to provide a service or a product to them.
Their website is due to be relaunched in the coming weeks where consumers will be able to find offers in the run up to Christmas.
The plans for the coming year for the farm is to expand the packing house, the polytunnel area and the storage facilities. “We want to be the best known organic farm for vegetables in the next three years. We’ve a great team of staff who are going to help us get there”, Padraig said enthuastically.
For further information, you can contact the farm office on (090) 964 6713 or at www.beechlawnfarm.org.
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