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This Farming Life

CastleFarm Potatoes

What it means to be an organic farmer in Ireland today … Jenny Young writes about life and work on an organic mixed farm in Co Kildare - and selling its produce

May was a great month for growth at Castlefarm. The combination of heat and rain was perfect for grass and clover growth. The cow paddocks are full of lush grass and the cows are producing great milk, high in butterfat and protein.

This month we will start pre mowing paddocks before they go to seed. We do this to prevent grass becoming too strong and to have better quality, lush grass for the summer months. We will cut our first seasons silage this June. As organic farmers we are always looking ahead to winter feed.

All our spring calves are weaned off milk and are a mile away on our out farm. We have only kept the females. They will become our future milking herd.

This year all of our allotment plots have been rented and are looking great with onions and potatoes growing in organised rows. Potato plants have started to flower. Peas, spinach, beetroot, carrots and salad plants are also growing strong.

We have been mounding up around our potatoes as they grow. In the polytunnel we have peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes and courgettes growing. I can't wait until July when a lot of our vegetables will come into fruition. Meanwhile I'm preparing to make cheese this month. I think it's best to make cheese from summer milk, produced from grass and clover.

With the help of local beekeepers, we keep bee hives on 2 areas of our farm. One area is beside our fruit hedge, where bees feed mainly on fruit blossoms, the other set of hives is in the middle of our grassland and these bees feed mainly on clover.

We expect to take the first honey from the hives in August. At this stage last year's supplies are running low. More and more people are realising the health benefits of local honey, especially people who suffer from hayfever.

I have an animal at the butchers which I will sell from the farm shop in mid June.

Castlefarm Shop - County Kildare Ireland

Castlefarm Shop is open every week, normally on a Friday or Saturday but you need to sign up to facebook, emails or text alerts to keep up to date with opening days and farm specials.

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Castlefarm Shop, Narraghmore, Athy, Co Kildare, Email jenny@castlefarmshop.ie, log onto www.castlefarmshop.ie or telephone 087 678 5269 Follow us on facebook or on twitter @castlefarmjenny

 

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