We are in the process of establishing Goleen Harbour Farm, Matt attended a Teagasc course on the basics of Organic Production in the Spring of 2015 and we have been accepted as an Organic Operator by IOFGA, by May 2016 we can call our produce “In Conversion to Organic” and May 2017 we will have full Organic Certification. We have about 2 acres in Horticulture and have an excellent grower Lea, who completed the 2 year Permaculture course at Kinsale College followed by a years course on Commercial Market Gardening in Limerick and and 3 years experience working as assistant grower for a Commercial vegetable producer in Kinsale. Although we only installed our 2 Polytunnels in June within 3 months we were producing Salads and selling to local businesses and individuals. At the time of writing November 2015 we have some outside winter cops planted and have the rest of the land prepared with a green manure. The majority of our crop planting including Fruit Trees will take place in Spring 2016. Once we are open for business as an Accommodation and Activity provider Lea will be offering Gardening Tips and visitors will be able to come an pick their own fruit and veg and get involved in the production as an activity. Info on Permaculture and one of our farming heroes.
We will be producing Goleen Harbour Organic Honey and are working with Commercial Bee Keeper Mark Newham and his daughter Helana of Coolmore Bees, Mark approached us as he has many hives in and around Goleen, he says the Bees seem to do especially well in the area and believes it may be something to do with the presence of a natural antibiotic in Fuschia which is in abundance in West Cork. We have started with 7 Hives which we should be able to double in the Spring, the bees are the native Black Bee (Apis mellifera mellifera) we will be planting a Pollinators trail of plants and flowers in the spring to attract more Butterflies and Bees etc to our farm.
We will also be introducing laying hens and ducks, in addition to producing Organic Eggs they will help keep down the Slugs and produce manure.
We have applied to plant around 8 acres of our land with 8-9000 trees under the Native Woodland Scheme, this scheme is aimed at the restoration of existing native woodlands and the creation of new native woodlands. We are working with Forester Mark Donnelly who has a tremendous wealth of knowledge on Biodiversity, he was formally Head Forester for The National Trust in Wales. Tree species will include Oak, Alder, Hazel, Scotch Pine, There will be walking trails through the woods to connect to our Coastal Walk and an Outdoor Classroom area.
The remainder of the farm is grassland of mixed quality, we have about 6 acres suitable for making Haylage or Hay and about 17 acres of Special Area of Conservation (SAC) land which was very overgrown that we have started to graze with our horses and Connemara Ponies. The Connemara’s are a designated Irish Rare Breed and therefore qualify as Livestock Units we have 3 you can read more about them here.
By grazing the area we aim to make it more suitable again for the Chough a sea bird rather like a crow with an orange beak, they much prefer short grass and are found on the Sea Cliffs on our part of the Wild Atlantic Way.