Our Chief Experience Officer Stephen Maher paid a visit to Kildare Farm Foods this week. Here’s his report.
On Saturday afternoon I brought the kids and new baby camera (the big Canon can be inconvenient) to Kildare Farm Foods, in my role as Chief Experience Officer.
It’s just down the road from my house and over the last couple of years I was in quite often after hours to collect the actors in the family, as the premises is kindly donated by David Sexton and his sister Sandra to LARK, Kildare Town’s music and drama group for their annual show rehearsals.
I didn’t understand the scale and importance of this enterprise to the local area until I read through the 33 page Vision for the Future I was given as my homework. Thanks Mr Sexton.
47 employees with a plan double that in the next 3 years, and a massive Brexit-proof export business that is giving support to a lot of artisan suppliers such as John Stone Beef.
I won’t go into the business plan, but as a tourist here’s what you’ll see:
A Farm Café that was thriving when we entered at 1.15 pm on Saturday (still plenty of room though).
A farm shop that seems to sell everything from near and far, local meats to spices and oils from every corner.
A hatchery for the kids to see and hold the chicks.
A train station with trains.
A private area for birthday parties.
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They have a FREE open farm… but they were recently awarded a zoo licence, so I suppose it’s now a free open zoo!
In fact, David and Sandra pride themselves on now running Europe’s only free zoo. They promise there’ll be some big news lately, but aren’t in a rush to fill up the site as animal welfare comes first.
A couple of camels, a zebra, alpacas, pigs, sheep, goats, poultry, and a lot more, all within an arms reach – a feature David insists will remain free of charge. Even when he adds more animals to the 240-acre compound.
After our tour we went back to the café for some food and without a shadow of a doubt the John Stone Steak Sandwich is the best around.
IntoKildare and 500 retailers in Kildare have a vision for 2020 that involves mass employment in the food tourism industry and Kildare Farm Foods is playing their part in leveraging the county’s real position within the food and family tourism sector.
Play your part and shop local… or just swing by to visit the animals.