Getting a flavour of Christmas at Barlow’s Organic Farm

Barlow’s Organic Farm in Glinsk is a very busy place at the moment as Jimmy, Marie and their family prepare for the Christmas season.   The telephone is ringing as orders are being taken for oven-ready geese, bronze turkeys, oven-ready ducks for Christmas, as well as the pork, bacon and lamb which is available all year round. Then there’s lots of farm work to be done, with 90 turkeys to be fed and looked after, as well as 180 geese and 50 ducks, not forgetting the sow and seven piglets and the sheep. On top of that, they grow their own barley, oats and lupins to use as feed for the animals, the sow is due at the end of the month, the abattoir is in full swing with lots of plucking and cleaning to be done. Luckily it’s very much a family affair at the farm on the banks of the river Suck in Glinsk, as their eleven children, including three foster-children, help out, along with the extended family. I spoke to Marie during the week about the busy run-up to Christmas. ‘A lot of our business is repeat business. This is our first year with the turkeys. They are bronze organic turkeys, they have black and brown feathers and are more suitable as organic turkeys.’ The bronze turkeys range in size from 10 to 18 lbs. What are the advantages of buying organic poultry? ‘The main thing is the flavour and the knowledge that they have met the organic standard and have been fed proper food and live totally naturally, with plenty of fresh air and they are let out on grass.’ In recent years, the Barlows constructed a purpose-built abattoir for the poultry business. Also, lamb can be ordered all year round, as can pork and bacon, all of which comes from the farm in Cloonfaughna. ‘We have seven piglets ready for slaughter at the moment. We have a lot of orders for them and the sow is due at the end of the month,’ said Marie, who adds ‘everyone is chipping in and helping out.’ ‘We grow our own grain to help supplement the organic feed. We grow barley and oats and lupins and are looking into different food products at the moment to try and reduce the cost of the feed.’ So, have the Barlows enough on their plates (excuse the pun) at the moment? Of course not, there’s lots of plans for the future! ‘There is huge demand for our chicken. We only rear a very small number at a time, one hundred at a time, it takes about 16 weeks. We see a huge market in this. We cannot supply the demand for the chicken. We often have all of the chickens ordered before we buy them in. Next year we intend to expand that area and aim to supply the demand.’ Concluding, Marie wished all their customers a happy Christmas and prosperous new year. Barlow’s Organic Farm can be contacted at (090) 66 21926 or (087) 7583522.