Ballymaloe Cookery School sits on a 100 acre organic farm near the sea amidst the undulating landscape of beautiful East Cork. Our 12 Week Certificate students, in particular, benefit from the produce of the farm, gardens and one acre wide glasshouses which yield an abundance of fruit and vegetables throughout the year. Our free-range livestock include pigs, beef and dairy cows (Angus, Kerry, Dexter and Jerseys), as well as many hens who keep the school in a supply of fresh, organic eggs.
There are two main areas where we grow our vegetable crops: the Outdoor Vegetable Patch and the Glasshouses.
As Ballymaloe Cookery School is primarily a teaching environment, these areas are often used in experimental ways to test out new planting and sowing techniques. As organic food production involves restrictions on the use of pesticides, herbicides and artificial fertilisers, we are continually working on new techniques to control weeds and pests, and to enhance soil fertility. Such experimentation involves biodynamic planting and our “No Dig” area.
We also create our own organic compost here at the school. This is done by regularly turning organic matter which helps to aerate it. The natural bacteria in the soil thrive in the heat of the compost and break it down. When compost reaches the humus stage, it is once again a living thing full of bacteria, fungi and insects. This ensures the biodiversity that is absolutely essential to the health of the soil and, in turn, the plants and crops by giving them a greater resistance to disease. Our core philosophy at Ballymaloe Cookery School is sustainable food production. Our beautiful farm is our greatest asset and we make every effort, not only to minimise our impact on the environment, but also to enhance it where we can.
The Shanagarry Farm Shop, probably the first farm shop in the country, was established in 1982, just one year before the Cookery School was founded. Having successfully sold apples from their farm for a number of years, Tim and Darina wondered whether they might be able to expand their offering, and with an idea forming of how they could do this, they went to England to research how farm shops were being run over there. Inspired by their trip, they returned to initially set up a ‘Pick Your Own Fruit & Vegetables’ area, as well as convert the old mushroom packing shed into their new farm shop. The shelves were lined with traditional wicker baskets filled with fresh vegetables, free-range chickens, salamis, and a wonderful selection of cakes and biscuits. The Farm Shop was much loved by local people, summer residents of the nearby caravan parks and other visitors, and the Corkonians who make a special trip out from the city just to buy our fresh vegetables and fruit.
Many years later we again opened a shop on the farm, this time the Garden Shop at Ballymaloe Cookery School and it is now run by Toby and Penny Allen who source delightful gifts from around the world and of course wonderful produce from the farm.
Find Our Goods
At the entrance to Ballymaloe Cookery School, Organic Farm & Gardens is The Garden Shop. It stocks a wide variety of:
Gift items, Artisan cheese and meat products, Difficult-to-source ingredients, Gourmet food products, Organic free-range eggs, Organic produce from the farm, Baked goods, including brown yeast bread and sourdough, A wider range of cookbooks, Kitchen essentials, Organic, biodynamic & natural wines, Raw milk from our own Dairy