When Sally McKenna wrote the introduction to the Cole family's book, Broughgammon – Forward Thinking Farming, she pointed out that when she first heard that the family were concentrating on farming cabrito kid meat, rose veal and foraged seaweeds, that she thought it was “Too good, too strange, too cutting-edge to be true”.
Well, what the Coles get up to certainly is strange – a niche within a niche – and it is certainly cutting-edge, but what it is also is good, not too good, but just superlatively good. Their meats and their seaweed products are special and they have – quickly – conquered the country, from sell-out success at the Balmoral Show to starring roles at the Big Tent at the Ballymaloe Litfest.
Their vision of farming, and of selling their products to their customers, is inspiring, as far from the modern day nightmare of factory farming as you can get. Here are a family who understand the workings of nature, and who respond to it sympathetically and wisely. Their foods are outstanding and their book is a brilliant and valuable memento of a very exciting time in Northern Ireland's artisan food culture. The Coles are one-offs, and they are the best advertisement for forward thinking farming that you can get.
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