Dig in!


Smallholders Ireland will present a series of talks, slideshows, demos and Q&A sessions on all aspects of smallholding at Taste of Cavan on 11-12 August 2017 at Cavan Equestrian Centre. This is a must-attend event if you are curious about taking the brave step to produce your own food.

Smallholders Ireland will be joined by smallholding colleagues from Wales to share their stories and experiences. The programme will cover rearing sheep, goats, pigs, alpaca, chickens, turkeys and ducks as well as growing your own fruit and vegetables and bee keeping. This year there will be a butchering and sausage making demonstration as well as demonstrations on curing and drying your own meats and a kefir workshop. Smallholders who have diversified to boost the income from their smallholding will also give a presentation.

This event will be of great interest to anyone who has a large garden or a small amount of land who would like to begin rearing/producing their own food but is cautious about taking the plunge. All questions will be answered by people who took that plunge and are delighted to share their experience and advice.

Smallholders Ireland started out as a Twitter account based on a similar UK one. It has developed to have a Facebook page and a vibrant community of people from two countries sharing information, advice and friendship.

For more information contact Margaret Griffin (087 413 1883) or Francis Nesbitt (087 236 8555)

Twitter @SmallholderIRL Facebook: Smallholders Ireland

See below for the full programme of Smallholder events at Taste of Cavan:


Friday, 11 August


12-1pm. Helen Joy (Valerie Chicken)

Drawing workshop for children and adults. How to draw animals quickly and easily. Helen from Cardiff is a well-known artist and a presenter on Radio Cardiff.


2 - 3pm. Introduction to the Smallholding Lifestyle

 Smallholders from Wales and Ireland discussing and describing their decision to grow and rear their own food. Slideshow, question and answer session. Hosted by Francis Nesbitt (Drive KCLR contributor)


3 – 4pm. Starting out keeping animals - rearing your own poultry, pigs and sheep

Hints, tips, advice and care for smallholding animals, Panel of experienced smallholders hosted by Francis Nesbitt.


4-5pm. GYO, tunnel and allotment growing.

Fiona Kelly and Hugh Cassidy are experienced allotment gardeners. They will share their knowledge, tips and advice. Fiona recently took part in Bloom Fringe, contributes to The Sod Show and writes a blog at FionaGrowsFood. Hugh teaches gardening classes, is involved with Malahide Allotments and also writes a gardening blog at hughcassidyblogspot.


5 – 6pm. Starting out with bees.

Thinking of keeping bees on your smallholding? Some experienced bee keepers (Olly Nolan and Francis Nesbitt) will be on hand to give a brief talk and answer any questions you may have.


6 - 7pm. Bread-making demo.

Mags Morrissey, Hedgehog Bakery, Kilkenny will give a bread making demo of yeast & sourdough breads, brioche buns & foccaccia.


Saturday 12 August


11–12noon. Curing and drying your own meat

Smallholders experienced in curing and drying their home produced meat will advise and give tips.


12-1pm. Nicky Kyle Kefir workshop and fermenting discussion.

Nicky Kyle has been fermenting and Kefir-making for 40 years. She was one of Ireland's first certified organic commercial growers in the early 1980s, a director of IOFGA, then later co-founder and director of The Organic Trust.  She blogs about organic gardening, poultry keeping and healthy eating on - writes a monthly column in The Irish Garden Magazine and is co-presenter of the 'From Tunnel to Table' series on LMFM Radio's Late Lunch Show with Gerry Kelly.

See Nicky's Basic Kefir Recipe here: See Nicky's Kefir Cheese Recipe here:


1-3pm. Butchering and sausage making demonstration

Declan Gilmore and John Griffin both smallholders and qualified butchers will demonstrate a range of butchering techniques and give a sausage making demonstration.


3-4pm. Diversifying and making some money on your smallholding

Short presentation followed by panel Q&A.  Margaret O’Farrell, Oldfarm, Susan Maxwell & Rachel Hardiman of Seven Acres, Francis Nesbitt, Croan Cottages


4-5pm. Smallholder Q&A

Come and talk to the smallholders and ask any questions you didn’t get a chance to.