Al Eile Farm
Al Eile Farm is operated by Argentinian born Gerry, a trained agricultural engineer with a lifelong passion for farming and food.
The farm was born out of our desire to supply The Old Bank with the freshest and highest quality seasonal ingredients year-round. And it has flourished since the first beds were built in March 2020, expanding each season to meet the increasing needs of the restaurant.
At present, the farm has 24 raised beds, 20 no-dig beds, 5 tunnels and some fruit bushes on just shy of an acre of land.
We are in transition to organic and we hope to receive that classification within the year, as the farm has used natural, chemical free methods since the beginning. The only thing that is sprayed onto the plants is a garlic mixture. The compost consists of a tiny bit of organic approved fertilisers and harvested seaweed dust and meal. No synthetic fertiliser is used, the vegetables and fruit are produced without chemicals, in a production that is traditional, natural, and attuned with nature. Rotation is paramount in this system, boosting biodiversity – flowers, insects, natural predators, covert crops, green manures are all encouraged.
Gerry has said that growing for the restaurant allows him to think of the consumer rather than the consumerist. Gerry believes production is often disconnected from the experience of consumption. Growing mindfully, enriching the environment, encouraging biodiversity and being proud of the product is what he believes in. Gerry wants to grow produce that is ethical, chemical free, and full of flavour; a product that he would happily give to his children. Not something that is grown to maximise profit, symmetry, and shelf life.
Gerry and our Executive Chef Dave have a great working relationship. Dave comes to the farm each week to chat about everything, and Gerry comes to the restaurant to eat!
“I’m transplanting beetroot now, and I can think of the beetroot starter on the menu at the moment. How Dave has said he is not fussed on the size and shape and things being homogenous and equal and even…”
Gerry and Dave working so closely speaks in the food that our guests eat. How a product will taste is at the forefront, even before the seed goes into the ground.
In the next few months we hope to add rare breed pigs and native Dexter cattle to the farm, further enhancing our farm to fork principles.
In late spring and summer, the farm’s surplus is sold to the community through a vegetable crate scheme. Looking to the future, the vision is to not only supply an even greater selection of chemical free vegetables to the restaurant but to the community of Dungarvan too, through the development of the box scheme by opening our own farm shop. We also hope to use some of the land as a community allotment.