We’re going to keep the luck ‘o the Irish going this week. For those of you who think potatoes and beer when you think Irish food, take a big bite out of Orchard Acre Farm. This 19-year-old organic farm in County Fermanagh grows salad greens, herbs, fruits (including tomatoes), and flowers for its guests and local restaurants. You can stop in for an afternoon to attend one of their many eco-training sessions or book their roomy eco-tipi, a new addition to the farm this past year, for longer stays.
Orchard Acre Farm is part of Ireland’s Greenbox, eco-tourism network, for good reason. They purchase renewable energy, use solar power to heat their hot water, and use wood-burning cookers. They keep their energy costs down by using efficient appliances, double-glazed windows, and lots of hemp insulation. They try to offset their small carbon load by planting trees; a new two-acre willow garden is planned for this year. To cut down on emissions even further, the farm is trying to convert their vehicle to run on waste vegetable oil.
Orchard Acre Farm collects rain water for both household water needs (laundry and toilets) as well as irrigation for the garden. Teresa O’Hare, who has co-owned the farm with Hugh McCann since 1989, says their cleaning supplies are all non-toxic. “Baking soda is a big favorite – as is elbow grease,” she says. Even the curtains are eco-friendly -- they make their own from reclaimed fabrics. The same goes for bed linens.
The farm also does some serious eco-outreach. They have an extensive catalog of eco-tourism training programs and also offer tailored green consultant services. Like Omagh Hostel, they are WWOOF (WorldWide Opportunities in Organic Farms) hosts, which means volunteers who want to learn about organic farming can trade labor for room, board, and education. If Teresa has her way, the farm will start to host an annual eco-festival to spread the green word even further.
Come back tomorrow for more details on the farm’s tipi rental and upcoming activities!