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 edition of Horticulture News we are featuring a full profile of our winner in the Mushroom category:
Reilly Mushrooms Ltd is a family business, established in 1988 by Gerard and Mary Reilly with four family members now involved in day to day farm operations. The business has grown over the years and now employs more than 50 people. Considerable investment and expansion has been undertaken over the years moving from 3 to 16 tunnels, making this a very modern and efficient farm. The Farm produces approximately 50,000kg of closed cup and flat white mushrooms per week. To ensure consistency and high standards are met daily the team at Reilly’s have set out very clear procedures and protocols to meet customer and market demands. Biosecurity on the farm to keep disease out of the mushrooms houses is a key management focus, having recently investing €200k in a a centralised piped steam sterilisation system Reilly’s have managed to eliminate the need for any disinfectant use on the farm prior to house emptying
Key sustainability measures on the farm include:
- The use of renewable fuel and solar panels for electricity production
- Use of Lean management techniques to drive efficiencies on farm
- Reviewing options for alternative packaging and market diversification
- Implementing a high level of Health and Safety on farm and close attention to staff welfare