At harvest-time and on the eve of national organic week farmers like Jimmy and Bernadine Mulhall of Coolanowle Farm in County Laois, are quintessential examples of how farmers are seizing the day and seizing control of their destiny. Today the Mulhalls open their on-site farm shop, a vital complement to their hugely successful farmers' market van, both of which sell the wonderful produce of their 300 organic acres.
Everything we hear as we travel the country, hearing more and more success stories from people in the Bridgestone community tells that people want to support local foods, local farms and local economies. They have realized that, as the great Wendell Bery wrote back in 1989 "Eating is an agricultural act".
The proof of this theory is always in the eating and last night at Coolanowle the theory came in the shape of spit- roasted organic pig, beautiful salads and potatoes, Bernadine's fresh breads. Then apple and berry crumble, berries fruits and home-made custard. O'brien's offered four cracking wines. The atmosphere put us in mind of a French wine-maker's Fete at harvest-time: exuberant, real everybody in the moment. When the Irish do what they know how to do, then they do it the best. The national economy is in tatters but the new agricultural economy is thriving.