The Allen Family own and run the Ballymaloe Organic Farm in East Cork includes one acre wide glasshouses which yield an abundance of fruit and vegetables throughout the year. The farm is also home to free-range livestock including pigs, beef and dairy cows (Angus, Kerry, Dexter and Jerseys), as well as many hens which provide a great supply of fresh, organic eggs. In addition, a further integral part of the Ballymaloe Organic Farm is Dairy. There are 6 Jersey cows which are milked daily to produce local cheese and yogurt for the Ballymaloe Cookery School and the Garden Shop.
Vegetable crops are grown in the outdoor vegetable patch as well as in the Glasshouses. The vegetable patch is a quarter acre site and a whole range of native Irish organic produce is grown inclduing Rhubarb, Leeks, Strawberries, Turnips, Parsnips and Cabbage. There is an educational aspect also, those enrolled in the Ballymaloe Cookery School are assisted in identifitying the various vegetables and plants grown. The patch is also often used to test experimental planting and sowing techniques such as biodynamic planting - sowing crops in harmony with the various phases of the moon – with the aim of optimising yield, flavour and quality. Another biodiversity friendly technique incorporated is the use of green manure - the incorporation of certain green plants back into the soil, which improves the soil structure; increases soil biodiversity helps to prevent soil erosion and helps to reduce pests and diseases affecting plants & vegetables.
The core philosophy is sustainable food production and the operation at Ballymaloe is fully aware of the importance of the farm as their greatest asset. They make every every effort to not only minimise impact on the environment but to enhance it where possible. As part of the set-up at Ballymaloe there is also a Farm Walk and a Wildflower meadow, two most positive developments for biodiversity locally.
The Ballymaloe Organic Farm is a most positive operation and is deserving of recognition and credit for its approach.
Nominator: Conor Nelligan, Heritage Officer, Cork County Council