The Inaugural Origin Green Farmer Awards – Horticultural Producers Honoured
The Origin Green Farmer Awards were presented in December to recognise and reward the exceptional performance of its Sustainable Quality Assurance schemes for beef, horticulture and dairy. These schemes are pivotal to differentiating Irish food products in the global marketplace; participating farms meet high standards around food safety, animal health, welfare and traceability.
Twelve horticultural producers were shortlisted based on their overall audit performance in the Sustainable Horticulture Assurance Scheme since its launch in November 2017. Each shortlisted finalist was visited by an independent judging panel and were assessed across sustainability topics including crop husbandry, health and safety, farm labour, local community involvement, environmental/biodiversity measures and energy usage. These finalists are among the top performing horticultural farms in Ireland producing high quality fresh produce.
Judging for the Horticulture sector was completed by experts from Teagasc, University College Dublin and I.T. Blanchardstown.
In this, and in our next three editions of Horticulture News we will feature a full profile of the winner of each of the four Horticulture Categories; starting with...
Protected Crops and Fruit - Flynn’s Irish Tomatoes
This is a modern and very efficient farm managed by Martin Flynn. Employing nearly 12 fulltime staff, the workforce expands to 25 during harvest. Excellent production, packing and staff facilities ensures a good working environment. Martin has invested heavily in both infrastructure and technology allowing him to both maximise and monitor yield performance and predict production forward.
Key sustainability measures:
- Customer and supplier relationship development
- Water Management includes rainwater harvesting and recirculation of fertigation water
- Waste management planning includes reduced crop wastage through late season management of plant ripening.
- Use of high efficiency boilers and extraction of CO2 from boiler exhaust used to feed plants.
- Imbedded Integrated pest management includes environmental controls and use of advanced spraying technology
The Judges commended the positive attitude and clear understanding of the importance of farm sustainability demonstrated by the finalists. Each finalist exhibited an inherent understanding of the importance and relevance of implementing strategies to promote safe working systems for staff, increased energy efficiency, and to protecting and enhancing biodiversity and the environment on their farms through the use of modern technologies allied to well-established good agricultural practices.
The shortlisted horticultural companies spanned a wide range of produce across, Mushrooms, Field Vegetables, Potatoes, Fruits and Protected Crops and included Clune Mushrooms, Clonoulty, Co Tipperary, Danescastle Soft Fruit Farm Co. Wexford, Lisopple Apples Swords, Co. Dublin, Flynn’s Irish Tomatoes Bealinstown, Swords, Co. Dublin, Potato Category; John, David and Joe Rodgers Co. Dublin, Kilmore Potatoes Ltd Wexford, and Martin Kehoe Co. Carlow, Field Veg Category; Eamonn Murphy Co. Dublin, Leo Murphy Produce Ltd, Co. Dublin, John B Dockrell Co. Wexford, and Hilltown Growers Ltd Garristown, Co. Dublin.