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

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