Thursday, October 8, 2009

Organics with Altitude visit north west

We've had good interest from farmers in the north west thus far, so we're holding our first out of Tipperary event on 24th October in Sligo IT.

See below for more details, and get in touch if you'd like to attend:

Interested in making hill farming more profitable? Then the Organics with Altitude event in Sligo Saturday 24th October should be well worth attending.

Organics with Altitude is a farmer-led initiative, spearheaded by Tipperary farmer Joe Condon, and supported by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

Condon is a successful organic upland farmer from the Knockmealdowns in Tipperary, who sells direct to his loyal customers. The core elements of Condon's Organics with Altitude initiative mirror his farming practices. These are the stocking of suitable upland breeds, artisan butchering, direct selling to the consumer and organic certification.

The event on the 24th begins at Sligo farmers' market, which is held in the front car park of Sligo Institute of Technology (Sligo IT) each Saturday. Farmers will meet from 11am where they will experience what is one of the north west's busiest markets.

Farmers will get a chance to see the retailing of both value added produce and organic meats in this setting. Various pertinent aspects of direct selling will be explained by Joe Condon. Useful information will also be gleaned from Irish Organic Meats operator Declan McCarthy, who sells at Sligo farmers' market each week, and Guy Marsden, organic farmer and one of the organisers of the market.

Following this, the event moves into Sligo IT itself. From 2PM to 4PM. Oliver Moore and Joe Condon will explain the other aspects of the Organics with Altitude initiative to attendees. The initiative has a five stage production protocol, encompassing production, slaughter, processing, packaging and retailing. Each stage will feature in the afternoon presentations.

A particular emphasis will be on animal husbandry and farm management, disease prevention, the sourcing suitable organic stock, artisan butchering and keeping costs down. The importance of organic certification, as well as the benefits of mixed and direct retail outlets will also feature.

Rural development specialist Dr. Oliver Moore, a graduate of Sligo IT, will complement the guided discussion and presentation by Joe Condon.

Joe Condon and Dr. Oliver Moore are spearheading the initiative. Joe Condon stocks Galloways on his farm, a combination of 40 acres unenclosed commonage and 40 acres enclosed lowlands. He sells direct to his loyal customers in Clonmel and Dungarvan farmers' markets, on his website - - and to a small number of specialist outlets and restaurants.

“Combining the right upland breed, such as Galloways, organic certification and direct selling is a definite positive option for farmers in the current economic climate” according to Condon. “It gives farmers more control over their own product, while also suiting the uplands”.

Referring to his sales “I haven't seen a slowdown whatsoever in sales. Consumers want quality, and if they get it at the right price, they will keep coming back for more”.

To find out more about the event on the 24th October in Sligo IT, contact Joe Condon on 087 2735447 or email info 'at'

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