Producer Profile- Coole Farm

By Rebecca Meade

Producer Profile- Coole Farm

In our latest Producer Profile we talked to Mark and Helen of Coole Farm.
 Coole Farm is based just outside of Ardee, in County Louth. Together, Mark and Helen run the business from their home farm. They grow, harvest and pack salad leaves on site. Delivering them to their customers twice weekly.
Coole Farm began their salad leaves business in 2018, Mark has farmed since childhood and he wanted to try something new and move away from traditional farming towards producing food free from artificial pesticides & fertilisers. They selected a small section of the farm to grow salad leaves on in late 2018 and they harvested and began selling to local shops in early 2019.
Coole Farm products include their unwashed mixed bag of salad leaves, which include a fantastic variety. They also sell kale during winter and spring months and rocket in summer.
 
At Coole Farm they grow their produce in harmony with nature. No artificial pesticides or fertilisers are used. This fact, combined with the naturally fertile limestone soil, creates the perfect growing environment for their very special produce. These ideal growing conditions, along with Mark’s expertise, allows the natural flavours of the leaves to burst through.
They do not apply artificial fertilisers or any pesticides because without them, all life is encouraged to flourish.
They maintain their soil nutrient levels by incorporating their crop residues and adding compost, which keeps their soil’s biological life in tip top condition. Plants grown in healthy soils have a much higher nutrient density which in turn are much more nutritious to us when we eat them.
Coole Farm products are stocked at:
  • Neighbourfood Blackrock
  • Market Fresh in Slane
  • Country Fresh Stores x 3 in Dundalk
  • Forgefield Farm Shop in Termonfeckin
  • Supervalu Ardee, Supervalu Fairways
  • Centra Dromiskin, Centra Ardee, Centra Tullyallen
 Obviously this has been a really tough year for all businesses, so we asked Helen and Mark what impact has the Covid crisis had on their business.
“As we mostly stock retail and only had a small portion of our customers in the food service business, we have been very lucky. We have benefited hugely from the Irish consumer’s focus shifting quite sharply to buying local Irish food, free from chemicals and unprocessed. We are so grateful for the local support we have received this past year. It has been phenomenal, and we are humbled by the response to our products.”
 
We are delighted to count Coole Farm as members of our Boyne Valley Flavour’s community and according to Helen theyhave always admired the food producers in our region and are honored to be a part of this community now. We have gained so much support from fellow producers and the Boyne Valley Flavours team. The team are so responsive to all members and have made us newcomers feel so welcome and included. We cannot wait to be able to meet up with everyone in person, when we can do so, for some amazing collective food experiences that the Boyne Valley Flavours are renowned for.”
They are currently coming towards the end of participating in the Supervalu Food Academy programme and they are hopeful that you will see their products on more Supervalu shelves from May 2021!
 Recipe for the Perfect Salad Dressing to drizzle over Coole Farm salad leaves:
  • Teaspoon of honey
  • Pinch of salt
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons of good quality olive / rapeseed oil
  • Optional extras: pinch of dried chilli flakes or teaspoon of dijon mustard!
Thank you to Helen and Mark for taking part in our Producer Profile, to learn more about Coole Farm visit their website-

https://www.coolefarm.ie/

or find them on Facebook-

https://www.facebook.com/coolefarmsaladleaves/