The Mayo Blackface Group has rebranded as Ólas Hill Farms and, in partnership with Bord Bia, has launched a new website and campaign.
According to the group, Ólas Hill Farms “brings together a collective of over 400 farmers dedicated to the craft of producing distinctive, free roaming, ethically produced and sustainable lamb”.
First established in 2004, it includes a mix of sixth-generation farmers and younger members.
With the support of Mayo County Council, the group has undertaken the rebranding and strategy for growth.
Highlighting its sustainability credentials, Ólas Hill Farms says it “reflects the legacy of generations” who have maintained the challenging west of Ireland landscape, “tending their sheep in areas of special conservation, their flocks acting as its natural keepers”.
The name Ólas – a play on the Irish word “Eolas” meaning knowledge – “reflects the skill and tradition at the heart of this brand”, the group says.
Seamus McMenamin of Bord Bia commented, stating:
“It is a standout product that is more slowly and naturally produced.
“These sheep spend 90% of their lives on hillsides, making it the closest you can get to organic [without being organic] and that really appeals to consumers’ desire for sustainability and high welfare,” McMenamin added.
The group’s new branding, logo and website were designed by Cork-based creative design studio Chapter “to represent the brand’s ethos and roots”.
Seamus Finucane of its production partner Kildare Chilling also spoke, adding: “The website and the story it tells creates a connection and once people feel an affinity with a product they want to be part of it.”
“With existing exports to France, Sweden, Italy and Germany, there is optimism about prospects for the brand in North America.
“Aimed at the discerning consumer who sees food as a celebration of life and cares about its provenance and carbon footprint, the story behind Ólas Hill Farms, its dedicated farmers and the resulting product has real resonance,” Finucane concluded.