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2010 Green Blogging In Ireland – Meet Organic Cow Farmer, James Howard (and fall in love with his beautiful garden of weeds!)

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links from which I earn a commission.

cow farmer

In the Northwest corner of County Clare, Ireland, there is a remarkable place called The Burren. This region of Ireland is composed of mountainous limestone pavements, eroded in a unique pattern known as karren. Beneath this pavement are large caves and underground rivers. Vincent Cleary, James Howard, and his Irish cows

Views at the Burren are filled with gray limestone, cows, and green as far as the eye can see. Surprisingly, you can find villages abandoned since famine times and if you go in early springtime you will see rare wildflowers such as gentian and orchids and bloody cranesbill. In fact, 70% of all the flora and fauna species in Ireland can be found in the Burren. It is a treasure.

You can imagine the thrill I got when my hosts in Ireland, Glenisk Organic Dairy, invited me to meet one of their organic cow farmers who lives on the Burren. James Howard invited Vincent Cleary, Managing Director of Glenisk, and Emma Walls, Marketing Director of Glenisk, and me into his home for tea. What I saw there was a family who live an organic life based on simplicity.

cow farmer

Cow farmer

When we stepped into James’ cottage, we stepped onto the pages of the Lord of the Rings. The home smelled of fresh baked bread, was tiny, having only a few rooms, and his wife kept the home quaint and clean. James served us warm, homemade, brown soda bread with fresh butter and honey from his own bees. His rustic kitchen table and chairs was hand hewn and worn smooth with dozens of years of wear.

If you walked out back, past the homemade rain barrel, chickens, ducks, and little green house garden, you can look at the heavy, soundless, and beautiful limestone of the Burren rising above the rest of the countryside. It was timeless and amazing. I stared and felt the little hairs on the back of my neck stand up because I knew I would never see anything so beautiful ever again.  James Howards weeds - my beautiful garden. :-)

James insisted we all hop in his little car, so we could go “four-wheeling” out into the fields on an adventure. I shouted, “YAY! I love an adventure!” Off we went to discover what was out in his fields. There were sheep, and cows, and endless fields filled with wildflowers. About the wildflowers, James, being ever practical, said, “bahh! They’re weeds!” To me, they are magic – they are a garden.

He ushers us through a cow paddock and into a special field where James grows turnips for his cows. Using a special technique called strip farming, whereby he grows organic turnips in a field, then segregates the cows in particular strips where they eat the turnips, James enables an organic environment. This way he does not feed them extra food and the cows consume the organic turnips as needed. Milk produced by the cows is all organic and distributed for Glenisk’s use in their organic products.

In the video below you can meet James Howard and see what he says when I ask him, “Why Organic?” He is an amazing man who is living a humble and natural lifestyle built on what he feels we should all be doing; living more healthy lives. Meeting James and seeing his property was the highlight of my experience in Ireland. Sometimes the best things in the world are the simplest.

Thanks to my sponsor for this incredible speaking, blogging, and eco-green adventure to Ireland – Glenisk Organic Dairy. They have been wonderful to partner with and have some astoundingly healthy products, particularly for children and babies.

2010 Green Blogging in Ireland – a Tour of the Kitchen Walled Garden at Phoenix Park

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