Tochail do chuid dinnéir!

Bhain muid sult mór as lá breá ar an fheirm i lár an tsamhraidh!

“Bhraith sé amhail is dá mba infheistíocht ollmhór é!” arsa Tracey ag cur síos ar an bhuaireamh a bhí orthu nuair a rinne siad an cinneadh tús a chur le gnó miondíola a fhorbairt ar Fheirm Bhaile Uí Thuatháile. Go dtí sin ba ghnó mórdhíola glasraí a bhí acu ach faoi thús 2014 bhí sé ag éirí ní ba dhúshlánaí praghas maith a bhaint amach. Rinne John agus Tracey cinneadh cábáin adhmaid a chur ar an fheirm agus glasraí a dhíol ón tsuíomh sin. Don chéad bhliain ní raibh daoine ach ag dul i dtaithí ar an choincheap seo, go dtiocfadh leo bualadh isteach agus a gcuid glasraí a cheannach díreach ón fheirmeoir. B’as sin a tháinig an rosc atá ag Feirm Bhaile Uí Thuatháile, “Bíodh aithne agat ar d’fheirmeoir agus eolas agat ar do chuid bia”, nó “Know your farmer, know your food” mar atá sé i mBéarla.

Ó ghlac siad leis an dúshlán sa bhliain 2014 tá forbairt as cuimse tagtha ar an ghnó agus ar an dea-cháil atá ag Feirm Bhaile Uí Thuatháile mar sholáthróir glasraí úra. Ní amháin glasraí ach bia ceardaí áitiúil fosta a bhíonn ar fáil sa siopa agus ag Margadh na bhFeirmeoirí a bhíonn ar siúl maidin Dé Sathairn 9 – 1 in aice le CBM Signs ar Bhóthar an Phoirt i Leitir Ceanainn.


Dé Sathairn 30 Iúil bhí imeacht rí speisialta ar siúl ar an Fheirm a bhí eagraithe i gcomhpháirtíocht le Líonra Leitir Ceanainn. Cúpla uair i rith an tsamhraidh déanann John “Dig Your Dinner” a eagrú agus tagann daoine amach chun turas treoraithe thart faoin gharraí a bheith acu agus a rogha glasraí a bhaint. Seo an rud a rinneadh Dé Sathairn ach é curtha ar fáil i nGaeilge. Bhí deis ag na teaghlaigh bualadh le cónaitheoirí eile ar an fheirm fosta – na cearca, na gamhna agus dhá mhuc, Pip Squeak agus Georgio a tháinig ó Loch Garman i ngluaisteán – cé acu a bhí ag tiomáint an cheist a bhí againn go léir!

Suas linn ansin chun na páirce áit a raibh saibhreas glasraí ag fás agus réidh le baint ann, cairéid agus cairéid dhea-dhathacha, meacain bána, cabáistí, prátaí, gairleog, cál dubh, brocailí, oinniúin, spionáiste agus tuilleadh. Bhí bosca mór le líonadh ag gach teaghlach agus líonta go barr – agus thar barr – a bhí siad! Rinne muid plé ar na glasraí – go háirithe orthu siúd a bhí neamhghnách dúinn, macasamhail an cál dubh – an bealach is fearr cócaireacht a dhéanamh orthu nó iad a ithe go hamh. Bhí saineolaí beag maidir le bia amh againn – Ríonach, dhá bhliain d’aois agus í ag siúl thart fán gharraí, cál glas, brocailí nó cairéad á piocadh agus á ithe go díograiseach aici!


Seans nach mbeidh deis agat do dhinnéar a thochailt amuigh ar Fheirm Bhaile Uí Thuatháile arís go dtí an samhradh seo chugainn ach tapaigh an deis bualadh amach chun glasraí den scoth – agus rudaí deasa eile - a cheannach i siopa na feirme nó ag Margadh na bhFeirmeoirí maidin Dé Sathairn.

Dig your dinner!


“It felt like a massive investment!”, said Tracey, describing the worry that went along with their decision to develop their own retail business at Ballyholey Farm. Up until that point, they had a large vegetable wholesale business but by the beginning of 2014 it was becoming more challenging to obtain a good price. John and Tracey made the decision to construct wooden cabins on the farm from which they could sell vegetables. For the first year, people were only getting used to the idea that they could call in and purchase vegetables directly from the farmer. And that is where Ballyholey Farm’s mantra emerged from: “Know your farmer, know your food.”

Since taking on the challenge in 2014, the business has grown exponentially as well as Ballyholey Farm’s reputation as a supplier of fresh vegetables. Vegetables aren’t the only thing available in the shop, as it also sells local craft food, and all of these products are also available at the Farmers Market that takes place on Saturday mornings between 9am-1pm beside CBM Signs on the Port Road, Letterkenny.


On Saturday 30th July, a very special event took place on the farm, jointly organised with Líonra Leitir Ceanainn. A few times during each summer, John organises a “Dig Your Dinner” event and people come out to the farm to enjoy a guided tour and to dig their own vegetables. Saturday 30th was one of these such events, with the bonus that the whole day took place through Irish. The families enjoying the day also had opportunities to meet the farm’s other residents – the hens, the calves and two pigs, Pip Squeak and Georgio that travelled up in a car from Wexford – which one of them was driving was the question on all of our lips!

Up we went then to the field where a wealth of vegetables were growing and ready for harvest, carrots and rainbow carrots, parsnips, cabbages, potatoes, garlic, black kale, broccoli, onions, spinach and more. Every family had a large box to fill and indeed they were filled – with some of them overflowing! We discussed the vegetables, especially those with which we were less familiar – such as black kale – talking about the best way to cook them or whether to eat them raw. We had an expert on raw food in our midst – Ríonach, two years old and marching about the vegetable patch picking up kale, broccoli and carrots and enthusiastically trying them!


You may not have the opportunity now to dig your dinner out at Ballyholey Farm again until next summer, but you do have plenty of time to seize the opportunity to call out and purchase delicious vegetables – and other tasty items – in the farm shop or at the Farmers Market on a Saturday morning.