Growing appreciation for organic meat, producer reports

The farmer behind Coolanowle Organic Farm in Ballickmoyler who sells at five different markets, is seeing a spike in demand for organic meat.

“More and more people are deciding to eat less meat, and to make it organic when they do, which could be twice a week. They want to cut back and eat better-quality meat,” said Jimmy Mulhall.

Supplying beef, pigmeat, lamb and chicken at the markets in The Green Door, Newmarket; The Red Stables market in St. Anne’s Park, Clontarf; St Andrew’s Resource Centre in Pearse Street and the People’s Market, Dun Laoghaire – all in Dublin – as well as his own local Carlow market, Mulhall and his team of family members and three full-time employees are kept busy keeping up with weekly demand.

“We go through two cattle, eight or nine lambs and five or six pigs a week,” he said.

Mulhall, who farms just over 100ha and who converted to organic in 2001, has over 200 cattle on the farm. He also sells online which is also proving to be a growing area. “We distribute all over the country, selling a lot in Cork, Galway, Limerick, Donegal and in Northern Ireland,” he said.

Coolanowle Organic Farm supplies most of its milk to The Village Dairy in Killeshin. It is also involved in The Little Milk Company – a co-operative of organic dairy farmers spread around the country whose milk is used for cheese making. The cheese is supplied to high-end shops in this country and is also exported.

“There is more paperwork in organic, but it’s worthwhile. The system is rigorous which is very important.

“Organic farmers are protected a bit from competition as people can’t just come in and set up straight away. They have to get certification,” Mulhall said.

“People know that organic food stands up. It’s a worldwide system and we expect demand to continue to increase,” he concluded.