Milk sheikh, sea salt – Ear to the Ground

The excitement is bubbling, this week’s Ear To the Ground will feature a milk sheikh, an Irish Farmers Association election face-off and a wonderful sea salt food journey. Here’s a quick preview:

Milk Sheikh
First up on Ear to the Ground Darragh McCullough visits the Arabian desert, where Mayo man John Bourke milks 1,500 camels on the world’s largest camel dairy farm. Owned by Sheikh Mansour of Manchester City fame, the farm supplies milk to the entire Middle East.

It’s distinctive flavour and concentrated nutrients are highly prized. But is dairy farming in the desert sustainable? With rapidly depleting water resources, the Emirate can no longer justify squandering it most precious commodity on cows and camels.

This creates a real opportunity for Irish dairy farmers and processors, to tap into one of the worlds most affluent and fast growing markets.

Food Journey-Sea Salt
This week’s Food Journey sees Ella McSweeney meet Kieran and Marjorie O Malley, who started to make sea salt in their kitchen in their Achill home. Collecting fresh Atlantic seawater and evaporating it slowly in their oven creates the unique crystals of sea salt. Gourmands rave about its texture and taste and it has established itself as a unique Irish product.

IFA faceoff
Next week, 88,000 members of one of the most powerful voluntary organisations in the country prepare to elect their president. Meath man Eddie Downey and Laois man Jer Bergin will face off after one of the most gruelling campaigns in politics.

With nearly 1,000 branches from Donegal to West Cork, the Irish Farmers Association demands a lot of its leaders.

No salary, just a lot of travel, the job has proved a useful platform for a career in politics in the past. Helen Carroll meets the contenders and asks what drives them to go for the top job.

Do tune in to Ear to the Ground , this Thursday, 8.30pm, RTÉ ONE

Pictured Darragh McCullough and Mayo man John Bourke in the Arabian desert

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