Drive-through organic fast food outlet plan back on the road

The entrepreneurial Roscommon farm family behind the plans for the country’s first drive-through organic fast food outlet is back on the road, steering a slew of plans to expand the farm and the business.

Liam and Justina Gavin of Drumanilra Organic Farm may have been forced to slow down on their array of projects by Covid-19 but they are currently busy getting through their wide-ranging plans.

They have just started work on the drive-through organic fast food outlet in Carrick-on-Shannon which will open in early November. The Drumanilra Farm Kitchen in Strandhill is scheduled to open next spring. It is planned that the rebuild of the flagship restaurant and farm shop food hall in Boyle will begin towards the end of next year.

‘Desire to support local producers’

Visitors to the restaurants and shops will be encouraged to visit their organic farm, a 35-minute drive from Strandhill, and 10 minutes from Boyle, to see at first hand the provenance of their food. Boosting the plans is the appointment of 2AA rosette executive chef, David Porter, to the business.

“David is working on getting the restaurants open as soon as possible plus developing menus and farm shop products such as pies; salads; stocks; and preserves to showcase our organic produce,” said Justina.

“Our restaurant in Boyle had already closed for redevelopment when Covid-19 hit. We were due to open Strandhill in April/May and Carrick-on-Shannon this summer. We have been delayed by six to 12 months on the various projects.

“We have used the opportunity to concentrate on developing farm enterprises and infrastructure. We also launched our online farm shop which is now up and running, and we are supplying organic farm produce via click and collect and courier, using the three premises as click and collect locations,” she said.

I think there has been a fantastic upsurge in people interested in buying local organic produce and paying much more attention to where their food is coming from as well as a desire to support local producers, farmers and small businesses which is fantastic to see.

Work on the farm is also underway.

“We have been building sheds and fencing for an holistic grazing plan. We have invested in infrastructure for an initial 250 organic laying hens due to arrive on the farm shortly,” said Justina.

“We are also developing the market garden with new commercial-scale polytunnels and field crops. We have a great garden manager, Alex Lavarde, who is helping us scale up production to supply the restaurants,” Justina said.

Hidden Heartlands

The Gavins are benefiting from Failte Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands promotion.

“We hope to benefit more from it as we open our two locations in Carrick-on-Shannon and Boyle. We are also developing a farm walk so that visitors can come and see our Dexters and organic production system at work. We are hoping that this will be a nice addition to the Hidden Heartlands itinerary,” said Justina.