Lúnasa Farm, a new Quin, Clare based regenerative farm currently in organic conversion, has now sold out their pasture-raised meats for Christmas.
The new regenerative farm in Quin was set up on family land by Cass and Nick McCarthy. They currently raise pastured pigs and beef cattle. The farm is currently in organic conversion. Cass and Nick recently took on a lease at a butchery in Clarecastle where they now break down their own animals and make everything from scratch.
Lúnasa Farm is all about nose to tail when it comes to the meat from their animals. “Nose to tail is very important to us, and it’s one of the reasons why we would like to stick to mostly selling boxes or quarter/half animals. It is our intention to include the lesser known and less popular cuts in the boxes as well, which is why we would like to build up our recipe page on our website and use tools like Instagram reels to provide some guidance and inspiration should our customers need it,” said Cass.
Cass and Nick love to offer a range of products and would also like to sell items made by other Irish artisans (condiments, spice rubs etc) that go nicely with pork and beef. However, they are keeping it very simple for now.
Their heifers are killed in Kinvara, but this may change in the future to try and minimise travel time. There are no licensed pig abattoirs left in Clare, as a result, they are sent to Finn’s in Mitchelstown and they will be for the foreseeable future. Ideally Cass and Nick would love a local abattoir. If there was enough interest from pig farmers in Clare and an abattoir willing to reinstate their pig licence then they would happily champion that.
In 2023 Lúnasa Farm will be entering their second year of organic conversion with the Irish Organic Association and will have full organic status in early 2024. Cass added “We applied for organic certification because we knew that we would already be following organic principles on our farm, so we thought why not get certified? Although we operate with full transparency, being certified gives our customers additional reassurance that we aren’t spraying harmful chemicals on our land, that our animals are fed a GMO-free organic ration, and that they are kept to the highest possible welfare standards.”
Sourcing certified organic breeding stock has proven to be incredibly difficult due to the small number of organic pig farms in Ireland, so they had to temporarily remove their pigs from our license until they build up their herd. They still raise them according to strict organic standards, the only difference being that they have had to source non-organic stock.
Nick says: “In the short-term we will continue to diversify our farm, build our own beef herd and expand our offering at the butchery. We would like to develop a range of sausages and ready to eat products that are free from gluten and additives such as artificial flavours, colours and preservatives.” He added “Selling a range of Irish made products that complement our meat is something that we would like to add to our website. Long-term we would like to have a production facility on our farm where we can cook, cure and smoke our products, and eventually be open to the public”.
Selling direct to customers is their current business model given the very tight margins that they are working on. They would love to offer a meat subscription, and this is something that they will be working towards.
Nick grew up in Quin and is an engineer by trade but decided to switch career paths and follow his passion for regenerative agriculture, whole animal butchery and charcuterie. For the past 5 years he has been running a pasture-raised pig enterprise with a friend in Australia, selling pork boxes direct to customers, and slowly learning the craft of artisan butchery under the skilful guidance of Hayters Hill Farm.
Cass grew up by the beach in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs. In 2013 she completed a livestock apprenticeship at Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture in New York State and has worked in organic agriculture since; managing various livestock operations and working as a market gardener selling seasonal produce at farmers markets and to chefs. Cass is a wholefoods cook with a keen interest in seasonality, nose-to-tail eating, fermentation and slow food. She is close to graduating from La Trobe University Melbourne with a Bachelor of Food Science and Nutrition.
*Listen to the episode of Atlantic Tales on Clare Fm that feature Nick and Cass’s new business.