In a country where a true Dubliner may still be defined as 'someone who doesn't go home for the weekend', the urban-rural divide is clearly not as embedded as in many other societies. Yet the Irish population is increasingly urbanised, and the boom years brought growing signs of disconnection with our rural roots. But issues like food security, food miles and provenance, have stimulated a fresh appreciation of seasonal, local produce - and inspired thousands to grow their own food, often on allotments.
Energetic, passionate and multi-talented people like Peter and Jenny Young, fourth generation custodians of this 170-acre organic farm, are making a valuable contribution to this changing scene with their farm shop, open farm policy (tours arranged), and communications skills.
Although mainly dairy (Jersey cross and British Friesian cows) plus organic tillage, poultry and beef, Castlefarm is rapidly diversifying. Certified organic in 2008, they grow organic vegetables and fruit, produce honey and their milk is now used by local cheesemaker Elizabeth Bradley of Carlow Cheese (www.carlowfarmersmarket.ie) to make Castlefarm Natural (gouda style) and Shamrock (with fenugreek) cheeses. Kildare's first farmhouse cheese, it's easily recognised by its distinctive green wax coating.
At Castlefarm Farm Shop, Jenny says "Visitors will not only receive a warm country welcome, but will leave having learnt something new about farming and experience a real food and taste sensation." You can also leave well nourished, as they have a little café at the shop.
Jenny also has a stall at Athy Farmers' Market and Craft Fair every Sunday, and both she and Peter are influential journalists. A powerhouse package if ever there was one.
Farm tours offered. Farm shop usually open last weekend of month in summer, occasional off season - phone to check.