If you want to buy some seriously good artisan produce and see an outstanding example of rural diversifation, a visit to Robert and Helen Finnegan's farm in the village of Stoneyford is highly recommended.
What began for Helen as an experiment in the back kitchen soon became a full time cheesemaking operation, and has developed into an impressive and fascinating business.
First there was goats' cheese, with a neighbour, Hugh Daniels, supplying top quality milk from his certified herd. Next came Knockdrinna Meadow, a ewes' milk cheese using milk sourced from Henry Clifton Brown (who makes the magnificent Crozier Blue cheese, in Co Tipperary); although very pure - just milk, rennet, culture and salt - the golden rind of this distinctively earthy cheese results from washing it three times weekly with organic white wine...accolades include an IFWG (Irish Food Writers' Guild) award.
Not one to rest on her laurels, Helen took over production of Olivia Goodwillie's famous Caerphilly style cheese, Lavistown, the following year, using cows' milk from nearby farmers PJ Byrne and his brother Seamus - and, very logically, this was soon followed by diversifation into whey fed pigs.
Converted stone farm buildings have proved ideal for both the production unit and a farm shop and cafe - also Knockdrinna Cheese Tours (daily) and Cheese Courses (Fri).
Their excellent website gives full details on all aspects of the business, including availability.
In addition to the Knockdrinna and Lavistown cheeses made here, the Finnegans' whey fed free range pork is on sale (frozen), along with a wide range of farmhouse cheeses and a deli counter offering home made pies and quiches, home cooked ham and turkey, salads, seasonal ready meals, home made preserves and local bread, confectionery and farmhouse ice cream.