Support for Farm Diversification

Project Info

Client Mulhall Country House & Organic Farm

Project Description

Coolanowle is a family run business operated out of Coolanowle Farm in Ballickmoyler Co Laois. The Mulhall Family have been producing beef on the farm at Coolanowle for generations and the current owner, Jimmy Mulhall, has always had the goal of selling his product directly to customers and of providing work on farm for his family.Having spotted that the organic sector offered a potential niche for farmers to add value to their produce, Jimmy set about diversifying his business back in 2001. He started by converting the then conventional dairy/beef and sheep farm to organic status and approached Laois LEADER (now Laois Partnership) for advice and financial help. Laois LEADER saw the potential in Jimmy’s business plan and helped him to purchase a custom built mobile unit. This vehicle enabled him to process and produce a limited range of products to sell at farmers’ markets in Portlaoise, Carlow, Kilkenny and Ranelagh amongst others.

Jimmy and his son Eddie then embarked on additional training in butchery and acquired the skills necessary to produce a wider range of products,  including homemade sausages, dry-cured bacon and ham, dry cured corned and spiced beef. They also established an organic pig unit based on the Saddleback and Gloucester Old Spot traditional breeds. Meanwhile, Jimmy’s wife Bernadine also set about developing a successful B&B and on-farm self-catering business which also tapped into the developing Coolanowle brand.More recently, Jimmy and his family has developed the business model further. In 2009 Jimmy successfully applied to Laois Partnership for help to develop a meat processing room on the farm. With the new facility Jim is able to butcher greater volumes of his beef, lamb and pork on farm and also develop and increasingly wider range of products. Jimmy and his family are continually innovating and developing the business and the latest addition to the wider farm enterprise is a farm shop which opened in September 2010. The farm shop is, in many ways, the final piece in the jigsaw and Coolanowle Organics is now able to offer quality assurance through all stages of the life cycle of their products; literally from farm to fork.