Two local enterprises are to be featured on this week's 'Ear to the Ground' - Eoin Bird's 'The Wooded Pig' in Rathfeigh, and McCormack Farms in Kiltale.
THE WOODED PIG
After growing up on his family’s 45-acre tillage farm not far from Tara in Meath, and finishing university, Eoin Bird landed in New Zealand. Here he worked on an outdoor pig farm and so, from this experience, his ideas for his own farmland back home began to grow. He had one burning question - if pigs could be reared successfully outdoors there, then could the same be done in Ireland?
When Eoin approached his mum, Miriam, with his plan she wasn’t entirely convinced but his confidence won her over and now, together, they have an entirely new enterprise in Ireland. Now on their farm in Meath they keep 80 Rare Breed Welsh Pigs outdoors and from that they produce charcuterie like Salami and Chorizo.
Helen Carroll is in Rathfeigh to see the oak, beech and ash plantation that these rare breed pigs call home.
Growing herbs and salad leaves in Ireland is usually confined to back gardens and poly tunnels, but McCormack Farms in Meath grows over 200 acres of the delicate plants.
Eddie McCormack started growing vegetables on two rented acres 30 years ago, but today his son Stephen runs a multi million euro business supplying fresh salad leaves and herbs to supermarkets, wholesalers and restaurants throughout Ireland.
Darragh McCullough visits as men and machines race to pick the crop before the rain comes.
Back in 1964 the very first kidney transplant was performed in Ireland, and up to 2016 there have been 4,843 transplants here. With hundreds of people per year on the waiting list there is a constant need for donors.
In Co Westmeath there are two farming brothers who know all about the benefits of organ donation. Sean Fitzpatrick was 9 years old when he became sick but it wasn’t until he was 16, after a car crash, that they discovered his kidneys were failing. Seven years later Sean was told he needed a transplant, and after testing, his brother Seamus stepped up and donated his kidney to his younger brother. That was in 1975 and was the 7th transplant to happen in Ireland.
Ella McSweeney visits the brothers on Seamus’ farm near Athlone to chat about organ donation.