Farm Ireland

Sunday 22 April 2018

Family takes on challenge

Jim O'Brien

Jim O'Brien

Sean and Orla Clancy of Clanwood Farm in Cloghan, Co Offaly, live on what they describe as a "challenging farm" on low-lying peat-based soil.

When they took to full-time farming they knew they would have to use all their wits to make a living off the land at their disposal.

"We planted 70ac of forestry with a mixture of sitka spruce and broadleaf. While we wondered what could be done with the rest, Orla and I were very clear about one thing and that was that we wanted to produce an end product. We wanted to be in control of the whole process. Whatever we produced we were going to process and sell," explained Sean.

They started with foodstuffs and, with assistance from Offaly LEADER and the Offaly Enterprise Board, they developed a range of organic soups, pestos and hummus which they sell directly to customers.

Orla and Sean then decided to add their suckler herd to the organic list. Again they wanted to be in charge of the entire process from farm to fork, so he and Orla did major research and when they were ready they processed the meat and sold it directly to customers in boxes.

The next move took them even closer to the customer when they invested in a mobile catering unit.

"The box business took care of the heifer meat but we had a problem with the bullock meat. We decided to process and cook it ourselves so we now have an outside catering unit selling burgers and the like."

Known as The Organic Kitchen, the Clancy's catering unit is a regular feature at events such as Oxegen, Electric Picnic, the Tullamore Show and the Ploughing.

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Life is very busy for the Offaly couple who not long ago wondered what they would do with their "challenging farm".

Irish Independent