John & Sara Devoy Answer Inchydoney Island’s Call of The Wild

In the run up to our Winter Taste of West Cork Food & Wine Evening we have asked some of our producers to write about what they do and why they do it! 

The first in this mini-series of guest bloggers is the wonderful Sara Devoy from Devoy’s Organic Farm 

John & Sara Devoy of Devoy’s Organic Farm Rosscarbery

About ten years ago John walked into a 6 acre field in Rosscarbery with a river at its boundary rolling North to South towards Owenahinca Beach, John said ‘this is it’! There was no house, no running water and no electricity supply. This was a new challenge for John who had cycled  solo from Cork to North Cape in Norway to  Cape Town some years before!

With a few children at our side, the creation of our farm and home began. John had been a bio-chemist for many years in Cork City and I had worked in publicity, Nutrition and Stress Management. We would need all these skills on our rocky road. At first we relished the thought that this land hadn’t been cultivated for  25 years. This  ensured that it was free from sprays and fertilizers. It was a wilderness which had become home to birds,foxes and hares. Later we realized with every tree that we tried to plant, there were some huge rocks to shift.  There was the odd time when I hoped we would come across a stone circle and we could shelve the whole idea of creating a farm!

Steadily, with the help of local skills and a continuous stream of students from European Agricultural schools, we managed to reclaim some small areas of land and cultivate them. We erected polytunnels and cleared away the deepest layers of weeds. We hauled up seaweed from local beaches and worked hard to recondition the soil.  My son didnt have time to play with diggers as at 3 years old he was up in a massive JCB helping with the drainage channels. The work seemed interminable initially and trying to get planning permission was another nightmare.  Fortunately both of us had a background in health and knew a little bit about stress management!! BUT nothing could have prepared us for this huge lump of reality!! That is just a bit of the story!!!

Initially, we produced just enough for a few select restaurants and as the project expanded we were able to look at supplying some local markets and supermarkets.

We greatly value our connection with Inchydoney Hotel as pretty early on we invited Head Chef Adam Medcalf to the farm to sample what we were producing. He has always had an eye for the tasty and unusual. We walked around the farm and tasted numerous varieties of salad and spoke about the menus for the season ahead. It is great to work alongside chefs who have the vision to use what is local and in season.

For more information about John & Sara Devoy’s Organic Farm check out their website.

If you want to taste some of their produce then you can taste it at The Taste of West Cork on Friday November 2nd where you can enjoy a 7 course tasting menu featuring the very best of West Cork Seasonal Produce and enjoy Fine Wines paired by William Tindal of Tindal Wines.  Bookings on 023 88 33143

Call of The Wild @ Winter Taste of West Cork

Call of the Wild

Winter Taste of West Cork

Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa

Friday, November 2nd at 8pm

Head Chef Adam Medcalf Preparing for Autumn Taste of West Cork Photo taken by Paul Sherwood

Wild Boar, Venison and Spiced Apple are just a few ingredients that will feature in Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa’s Winter Taste of West Cork Food & Wine Evening on Friday, November 2nd at 8pm.

Themed around the Winter Season, November’s Taste of West Cork will guarantee to be a taste bud tingling event as Inchydoney Island showcases the best of local artisan producers and produce.  Wild Boar and Venison will be coming from Ballinwillin House Farm, Mitchelstown, fruit and vegetables just 15 minutes away from Devoy’s Organic Farm in Rosscarbery and the smoked foods from Ummera Smoked Foods, to name just a few of the producers who will be featuring in the evening’s 7 course tasting menu.

Beginning at 8pm with a Champagne and Canapé Drinks Reception the evening will be filled with flair and imagination and special guest, William Tindal, of Tindal Wines, will pair wines with the seasonal menu to complete the meal.

Following the event Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa invite you to complete the evening in Dunes Pub & Bistro where you can enjoy an evening of music with our Resident Musician.

Tickets priced are at €60, are now available and can be purchased from the hotel reception or by calling (023) 88 33143.  Should you decide to make an evening of it, Inchydoney Island is offering a reduced rate of €69 per person sharing. Enjoy overnight accommodation in a deluxe ocean view room with balcony or terrace and in the morning wake to a sumptuous Full Irish Buffet Breakfast. You will also enjoy access to the heated Seawater Therapy Pool, Sauna, Steam Room, Gym and Relaxation Areas.

 

If you require any further information or would like to arrange an interview, please don’t hesitate to contact Hannah-Rose Farrington on 086 777 3116

 

Jelly Arms & Legs for Heidi Grimwood, Spa Manager @ Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa

Our Spa Manager Heidi Grimwood is training for the Clonakilty Waterfront Marathon 

Here is this week’s update

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It’s a gruelling job training for a 10km run when you never had any interest in doing it before. However I must say I am secretly enjoying the new challenge!

Mark Hillliard is my trainer and is a very inspiring guy. So far I have learned a number of better techniques,  for example, lose ankles when running. I always felt like I was built like a sprinter so would run with tense arms striding along the road, however Mark told me to let my arms go like jelly and let the natural rhythm take over – it really works and feels like less effort to run when my body is more relaxed.

Another great tip is to take full advantage of going downhill and fly down it like you are at the end of your race this will help you make up the time you lose when striding up hill. I have done 2 x 5km runs this week my time being 26 minutes which I am delighted with as a starting point.

I am making sure I eat at about 7am so after the school run at have a good run at 9.15am. I tried to run the other day after eating at 8.30am and running at 9.15am – let’s just say it wasn’t a pleasant feeling in my tummy. So I am meeting Mark Hilliard tomorrow for my official training plan to get the best possible time for myself in the 10km run, very excited about this.

Top tips this week:

-          Make sure you do some sprint training – it can be as simple as sprinting from one lamp post to the next and then bringing your speed down to recover. It’s a great way of challenging your body.

-          Also don’t forget to do the hills, its no use just running on the flat – challenge yourself.

-          Be good to your body by refuelling with low GI foods like brown rice, nuts and seeds, fresh fruit.

www.inchydoneyisland.com 

Our Spa Manager Heidi Takes To The Roads!

Every week our Spa Manager Heidi Grimwood will be updating us on her preparations for the Clonakilty Waterfront Marathon

Friday October 5th finally arrived – it was D-day; I had to start my running training for the Clonakilty Marathon in December. There was no way out of it now I was meeting Mark my trainer for my first day of marathon training. I was petrified! As a non runner and someone who never had an interest in the sport I am not your usual candidate to take up such a hobby. But I am always up for a challenge and that is what they set me at Inchydoney Lodge and Spa! So an energy fuelled breakfast gluten free toast with honey and a cup of herbal tea – I was ready for my training. Mark is a very positive and motivational trainer, I was delighted he had no ego agenda and was simply there to motivate and push me to get going.

So a gentle warm up jog set us off with our training. It didn’t feel too bad and I was happy to carry on at that pace but I knew it was really a little too easy. However once we reached our small circuit we turned around and I decided to up the pace. It was tough I was never more grateful to get it over with but I completed I think nearly 3 miles today – not a bad start. Warm down was just a gentle walk and then into the Thalassotherapy pool to rejuvenate my muscles! I’m hoping to start enjoying my running one day; so far I am not converted but ill try my best. At present I am aiming for a 45 minute finish on the 10km run – anyone like to start taking bets?!

Want to know more about our Spa? Check out our website!