EVEN If you've never heard of the Fergusons, you're certain to have eaten their delicious Gubbeen cheese. The West Cork family has worked Gubbeen Farm for many generations, with Tom Ferguson inheriting the 250-acre coastal farm in the early 70s when he married Giana, from London.
The cheeses started when their son, Fingal, was born, and by the time their daughter Clovisse arrived Giana had moved into a small dairy alongside the house where she worked with her father in law, William Ferguson, on the first of the Gubbeen cheeses.
Fingal is now a celebrated smoked meat producer, with over 50 delicious charcuterie products. Clovisse has brought home her training from her godfather, gardener Jonathan Hamel Cooke and his partner Sue Dickinson, in addition to her apprenticeship at Riverford Farm in Devon.
She is a biodynamic gardener, and with a terraced acre and tunnels she supplies local chefs with fresh salads, vegetables and fruit.
Her herbs are the key flavours in Fingal's cures for his smoked meats.
So, the land provides the grass for the herd at Gubbeen, their milk is made into the cheeses and the whey is fed to the pigs and other animals. The gardens add vital flavour to the cured meats and the family work the year round in their chosen life - as food makers.
"This West Cork family of artisan producers is a symbol of what can be achieved when a family works together to add value to the beautiful produce on their farm," explains Darina Allen, in this beautiful new book about the Gubbeen story.
Offering an insight into the running of a traditional farm, Tom, Giana, Fingal and Clovisse share their passions and positions on the farm.
Mouthwatering recipes illustrate and celebrate the farm produce, resulting in an inspirational read from some of Ireland's finest food ambassadors.
Gubbeen: The Story Of A Working Farm And Its Foods by Giana Ferguson, is published by Kyle Books. Photography by Andy Sewell.