Tom and Giana Ferguson are the fifth generation to care for this beautifully located family dairy farm and, inspired by Giana’s experience of continental cheeses when growing up in Spain and France, they wasted no time before experimenting with making fresh cheeses.
Then, in 1979, this pioneering couple began production of one of Ireland’s best-loved cheese, the beautiful semi-soft Gubbeen - which they still make, and is now available both plain and smoked.
Today, Gubbeen is a more complex family affair and, while not organic, every aspect of their lives is informed by a philosophy that reflects a sense of stewardship and care for the land, their animals and the growing range of products that they make.
Their son, Fingal, now operates another successful business on the premises, producing a much-admired range of smoked meats, hams, rashers, sausages and salamis, while their daughter Clovisse produces organic vegetables and herbs for supply to local restaurants and shops - and Fingal also uses her herbs in his traditional cures.
Their mainly pasture-fed cows are a ‘cheesemakers’ herd’ of several breeds - including the black Kerry Cow which bring different qualities to the milk, and the dairy and pork businesses are interdependent, the pigs enjoying a fine sea view from their large straw-filled pens, where their wholesome diet includes whey remaining from the cheese-making process.
It is a satisfying combination and the products made by this dedicated family are consistently outstanding - a taste of Ireland’s best.
Although not generally open to visitors, it is sometimes possible to make appointments, and both the cheeses and Fingal Ferguson’s smoked products are widely distributed and can always be found at Schull, Skibbereen, Bantry and Mahon Point farmers’ markets.
They also offer beautiful hampers – including, for example, Gubbeen cheeses, smoked salami, their own oatcakes and chutney – all packed in lovely hand painted wooden trays, for delivery by courier or collection from selected farmers’ markets; order by phone or email.
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