Oliver Moore: Drumanilra gets its full organic licence

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Justina and Liam Gavin’s Drumanilra farm in Roscommon will get its full organic licence tomorrow.

This is especially important to the couple as they sell their own meat directly.

Last week we looked at the farm: they stock traditional British and Irish breeds in beef (Dexter), pork (Berkshire, Tamworth) and sheep ( Jacob, Shetland) on 40 acres near Boyle, Co Roscommon. Focused on self-sufficiency as well as the market, they also stock small flocks of hens, geese, ducks and turkeys, and grow their own vegetables.

This week we’ll look at the meat business side of their set up.

Liam, where is your meat slaughtered?

Stanley Taylor’s abattoir, which is just 15 minutes away. He’s inspected by the Organic Trust, and does the sheep and cattle for us. For the pigs, we use Gerry Burden in Grange outside Sligo.

You sell your meat directly. How and why did you go this route?

Since 2014, we have been experimenting with routes to market for our beef, pork and lamb. From the outset our vision has been to sell direct to the consumer. This brings its own challenges. There is a lot of work in attempting to cover all of the links in the “farm to fork” food chain yourself.

In the Summer of 2014, we launched our bespoke “Shepherd’s Hut” style catering trailer to tour shows and festivals. The Shepherd’s Hut is also available for large private functions. We serve heritage breed burgers and hot-dogs, handmade from Dexter Beef and Tamworth pork, on artisan breads and with locally grown salads.

The idea has always been to work with others. We’d like to help provide a marketing opportunity for other organic farmers with product to sell.

Last Summer we toured with our catering trailer and won a Mckenna Food Guide award at the Electric Picnic.We have been selling our produce at the local farmers’ market on Saturdays too.

How did you upgrade to a shop?

In stages. At Christmas we opened a small “pop-up shop” in Boyle, selling turkeys, traditional dry cure Christmas hams, sausages, bacon, rashers and Dexter beef. We also had a small deli offer, where we showcased local artisan cheeses, breads, locally grown organic vegetables and provided a space for local crafts people to sell and exhibit.

On April 1, we opened our new Drumanilra Farm Shop. It’s on Bridge Street in Boyle, the nearest town to the farm. We sell organic meat from our own farm and meat sourced from other local organic producers. We also stock a deli range including Irish farmhouse cheeses, olives, fresh baked breads, pastries, salamis, balsamic vinegar and so on.

As well as our own meat, we stock John Cullen’s beef from Frenchpark, lamb from Robbie Forbe’s organic farm near Lough Rea, and of course, our own Drumanilra Farm pork sausages and traditional dry cure bacon.

We take delivery of organic chickens from Margaret McDonnell in the Curragh, on a Wednesday, together with organic vegetables from Kinneden Organics in nearby Dromod.

Drumanilra farm shop is opened Monday to Saturday, 9am to 6pm. (No website yet, but find them on facebook)


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