Want to ‘grow your own’? Smallholders offer a Taste of Cavan

A smallholders’ gathering will take place at Taste of Cavan, on Friday and Saturday, August 11 and 12, at Cavan Equestrian Centre.

Smallholders Ireland will present a series of talks, demonstrations, and Q and A sessions on all aspects of smallholding.

“This is a must-attend event if you are curious about taking the brave step to produce your own food,” said Margaret Griffin of Smallholders Ireland, who is running the event along with Francis Nesbitt, a smallholder, trainer and consultant, based in Kilkenny.

After the success of their inaugural gathering at Savour Kilkenny last year, the pair expect another two busy days at Taste of Cavan.

“We have seen a huge increase in the number of people growing vegetables at home or on an allotment,” said Griffin.

Frequent food scandals have added to people’s concerns about what goes into their food. Not surprisingly, a lot of people now want to produce some of it themselves.

The two-day schedule of talks at Taste of Cavan will cover a wide range of topics. These will include: raising sheep; goats; pigs; alpacas; chickens; turkeys; and ducks. Growing fruit and vegetables, and bee keeping, will also be covered.

There will be a butchering and sausage making demonstration, and a session showing how people can cure and smoke their own charcuterie. Francis Nesbitt will lead this demo.

“The satisfaction of producing your own food adds to your enjoyment of that food. Whether it’s a few spuds from the garden or home-cured bacon, there’s nothing like the taste of food that you have grown or raised yourself,” said Nesbitt.

Attending the event will be some smallholders from Wales who will share their stories and experiences. Smallholders – who have diversified to boost the income from their holdings – will also give a presentation.

This get-together will be of great interest to anyone who has a large garden or a small amount of land who would like to begin rearing/producing their own food, but is cautious about taking the plunge, Griffin said.

“Any questions the ‘wannabe’ might have will be answered by people who took the plunge, and have some experience,” she said.

Smallholders Ireland started out as a Twitter account, based on a similar UK one. It has developed to have a Facebook page and a vibrant community of people from two countries sharing information, advice and friendship – predominantly online – she said.

For those interested, more information can be obtained from the group’s Facebook and Twitter pages.