My name is Olly, I’m a smallholder living up in the Dublin Mountains. In September 2012, after a lot of searching around Dublin, myself and my partner Chris bought a house with some land up in the Dublin mountains in the beautiful valley of Glenasmole and set about making it into a smallholding.
Our goal is to be as self-sufficient as we can, both from a food point of view and energy, and combining it with modern living. It’s a constant work in progress, with trials and errors.
I’m now growing and producing several different types of raw honey, grass fed rare breed Dexter beef, rare breed pork, Jacob lamb, eggs, yogurt, milk, fruit and veg.
I’m also a beekeeper producing truly local raw honey collected by my bees in their beehives around South County Dublin. It is sold as raw honey; this means that the honey is not processed or pasteurised in any way. The honey is simply extracted from the frames and cold filtered into the jar. The raw honey is never heated in any way to make it pass through fine filters or to turn it into a run honey like that found in the supermarket, as a result my honey will always crystalize naturally. A lot of other beekeepers will routinely extract their honey and store in buckets until needed for selling, they then heat it up to 45 degrees and higher to get it into jars. I think by heating the honey you lose some delicate flavours and also destroy most of, if not all, the health benefits associated with consuming local raw honey.
SuperValu have been a great help on this journey in the form of the Food Academy, they have provided the opportunity and the tools for small artisan producers like myself to get our produce onto the shelves of our local stores. The Food Academy takes a group of artisan producers under their wings and gives workshops and mentoring sessions to help us artisan producers compete with the big boys and this in turn puts money back into the local economy.
I’m hoping to grow my number of beehives over the coming months and years. I will need help working with my bees and I’ll be looking for people interested in a career in beekeeping to come on board to help with this.