South East Women in Farming think big on small acreage enterprise

Three farmers who make their modest acreage work hard for them in facilitating enterprise will address the next meeting of South East Women in Farming at the Woodford Dolmen Hotel, Carlow, on Tuesday, February 20, at 7:30pm.

They will explain how their business models work, with a view to encouraging and inspiring others to see the possibilities in a small area of land, either for diversification projects to increase income or as a solid farm business.

Sharing their stories will be: Eva Milka, Gaelic Escargot, Carlow; Moira Hart, Wexford Lavender Farm, Wexford; and Fiona Falconer, Wild About, Wexford.

The panel will be chaired by Stuart Meikle of the Irish Family Farming Foundation.

Gaelic Escargot was the first snail farm in Ireland, established in 2013. It is said to be the only research and development centre for the production of edible snails in the country.

Providing breeding stock and baby snails for new farmers, the enterprise also offers training and mentoring. This is complemented by a range of products such as escargot in brine and marinated escargot.

‘Think outside the box’

Lavender Farm offer workshops, tours, birthday parties and ‘cut your own’ harvesting days. Until recently a dairy farm, the focus has now changed to arable with both lavender and barley being grown. The lavender is grown organically.

Wild About is an enterprise that produces artisan foods, gifts and hampers from native, wild and seasonal ingredients, specialising in rose hips, sloes, berries, haws, nettles and wild garlic.

Leonie Byrne, a sheep farmer from Carnew, and secretary of the SE Women in Farming group, said it will be the group’s first meeting of 2018. The topic of enterprise is a timely one, she said.

Diversification is such a hot topic at the moment, yet so many still think about farming in terms of the most common enterprises – sheep, cattle, and tillage. There are so many other options out there if we think outside the box.

Admission to the meeting is €8. All are welcome.