Harvesting green gold from the fields of Meath
Stephen McCormack produces a massive yield of salad leaves and herbs year round at the family farm enterprise in Kiltale near Trim in Co Meath.
McCormack Family Farms supplies major supermarkets like Dunnes Stores, Tesco and SuperValu with micro greens and herbs from a network of leased farms and the 23-acre home farm. The hotel sector here and retail outlets in Northern Ireland are also valued customers.
McCormacks is a one-stop shop as it grows and then packages the greens at its production plant in Kiltale.
Stephen graduated from Warrenstown Agricultural College in 1989 and joined his parents Eddie and Laura, who had started a root vegetable enterprise supplying Smithfield Market in Dublin.
Stephen wanted to expand and spotted an opportunity in the late 1990s.
"It was the beginning of the economic boom and people were changing their diets with Italian and Asian food becoming popular. So we changed the produce at the home farm to leaves and herbs," he recalls.
Initially, the farm produce was for the restaurant and hotel trades, but it gradually expanded to the supermarkets as people's eating habits changed.
The demand was such that the McCormacks now lease 600 acres for growing within a five-kilometre radius of Kiltale.