RATHCARN Farm based outside Maghera, nestled in the foothills of Carn-Tochair, is a small family business run by Seamus and Declan O’Kane, who pride themselves as ethical producers of food.
Seamus and Declan have a real passion to supply food that is organically grown and of a very high quality. The farm is steeped in history with a Neolithic stone circle which indicates that when humankind first started to farm, they were doing so on their land.
Four thousand years later the O’Kanes say that they would like to think that farming has progressed and it has indeed, but for the O’Kanes it’s not all about mass production and making money, they place high importance on the nutritional value of the food they are producing and how they are rearing the animals with a low environmental impact.
Historically, Seamus and Declan had been following a general farming system without any real thought about the nutritional value of the food that they were producing and whether it was produced in a sustainable and ecologically balanced way. It wasn’t until they became increasingly aware of the food they were eating and what it was doing to their bodies that they asked themselves the questions: “How did the food that they and their families were eating nourish and sustain them? Did it strengthen their immune system to fight sickness and stress?”
After asking themselves these questions, Seamus and Declan began growing their own vegetables and while the vegetables may not have been perfect looking like the ones in the shop, they knew they had not been sprayed with chemicals or grown from artificial fertilisers, and have a flavour all of their own. The eggs produced by their free-range hens have yolks bright orange in colour and again they taste great.
At Rathcarn they also value the benefits of keeping bees which not only provide honey but also play a vital part in pollinating their fruit bushes.
After attending the launch of the Irish Moilie beef scheme held at an Irish Moiled Cattle Society open day at the farm of the Ravelglen Irish Moiled herd owned by Brian O’Kane, Martinstown, County Antrim, Seamus and Declan knew that the Irish Moiled, a rare native breed of cattle would fit perfectly into their methodology and their current day farming system.
They set about purchasing pedigree Irish Moiled cows and an Irish Moiled bull to establish their very own pedigree herd of Irish Moiled cattle for their farm. Seamus and Declan allow the cattle to mature at their own pace, and they make sure that the cattle are well cared for, protected from unnecessary medication and chemicals and they take great pleasure knowing the cattle are happy and content, enjoying the fields of grass and meadows nestled in the foothills of Carn-Tochair.
Seamus and Declan came up with the idea of selling their own home-produced Rathcarn Irish Moilie beef directly from the farm guaranteeing the provenance of the meat they sell. They are members of the Irish Moilie beef scheme meaning that all their pure-bred Irish Moilie beef comes with a certificate of authenticity backed by DNA to prove this.
Seamus and Declan O’Kane embraced the challenge of producing food that is nutritious, wholesome and tasty, they are truly delighted with their Irish Moilie beef, it ticks all the boxes. With their grass-fed farming system, the finished Irish Moiled beef cattle are producing consistently high-quality marbled beef that is also a very tender and succulent beef.
The beef boxes are perfect for family meals, full of wholesome, healthy grass-fed meat which includes a selection of steaks, roast beef, steak pieces, mince, sausages and vegetable roll. Everyone who has tasted the meat is ecstatic about the flavour and texture. Seamus and Declan say that at Rathcarn Farm they can offer a meat box which is healthier, more nutritious and fuller of flavour than any other beef available to buy.
Just recently Friel’s traditional Irish Bar and Restaurant, located in the picturesque village of Swatragh, have included Rathcarn Irish Moilie beef on their menu and have also included Irish Moilie beef in their Friel’s Café located at Swatragh Livestock Mart. Friels Bar and Restaurant is currently run by the fifth generation of the Friel family – a cosy place with a real feel of the old world, with pictures and memorabilia of bygone times.
n To order one of the delicious Rathcarn Irish Moiled beef boxes please ring Seamus or Declan on 07856 161773.