Ballymaloe Cookery School, Organic Farm & Gardens | Organic Trust Ltd

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Ballymaloe Cookery School, Organic Farm & Gardens.

Ballymaloe Organic Farm is organically certified by the Organic Trust Ltd.

Ballymaloe Cookery School & Farm is not only renowned for food and a centre for learing, it has has a wonderful organic farm where many different kinds of organic crops are produced in addition to organic beef and pork.

Organic vegetables are available from the on-site Farm Shop and from the local Midleton Market each Saturday.

Come enjoy a walk around the substantial flower and kitchen gardens - bring your wellies for the farm walk!
The History of Ballymaloe

Ballymaloe House

Some of the buildings in use today date back to the 1600s, all built into and around a 15th century Norman Castle. Many subsequent additions have been made to the house but all in keeping with its original look.

The Family

Ballymaloe House and farm were bought from the Simpson family by Ivan and Myrtle Allen in 1948. Ivan, a young fruit grower, grew tomatoes, mushrooms, cucumbers and apples at the time, in partnership with Wilson Strangman who was the manager of Kinoith in Shanagarry (which was inherited by Timmy Allen and later became Ballymaloe Cookery School). They expanded into mixed farming and brought up their six children. Myrtle started a restaurant which developed into a hotel. Now, with 22 grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren, many new family enterprises have developed.

How it all started

“I suppose it all started in 1932 when Ivan, aged 17, came to help Wilson Strangman to run his farm at Shanagarry. Times were hard but he and Ivan diversified their production brilliantly into alternative crops. These were and still are the basis of our cuisine.”

“In 1943, in wartime, large quantities of tomatoes, mushrooms, cucumbers and apples were being exported from the farm to England and Wales. The surplus came into my kitchen along with cream, butter and eggs and slowly I learnt how to cook with them, guided by my gourmet husband.”
“In 1964 I felt confident enough to open our dining room as a restaurant for dinner on five nights a week. I knew our food was good but I didn’t expect to get so many awards. As farm prices went down we expanded our rooms and restaurant business.”

The Farm Today

Ballymaloe Farm is a 350 acre tillage farm amongst rolling green fields. Owned and run by Rory Allen and his son Darren, they grow wheat and rape seed in the rich fertile soil.  Whereas before much of their business was in sheep and beet farming, today’s economy requires diversification from traditional agriculture. Rory and Darren are restoring the old stone buildings in the farmyard into attractive self-catering apartments for guests wanting to stay on a longer basis. They have renovated other out buildings into a gallery and workshops for artists and craftspeople. There is always a new development underway on the farmyard with many more exciting ventures on the cards. Darren currently keeps free range pigs and hens for a guaranteed supply of fresh eggs and delicious pork.

Ballymaloe House and all the out-buildings are heated by a wood chip boiler which replaced the old straw bale boiler that Ivan Allen installed in the 70’s. Darren’s business Scanboiler Ireland now specializes in providing wood chip boilers as an alternative fuel

Today, Ballymaloe’s farm is organically certified by the Organic Trust and features a wide variety of organic produce and products.  Visitors are welcome to come and enjoy a walk around the substantial flower and kitchen gardens and you are advised to bring your wellies for the farm walk!

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