In the wilds of Co.Offaly is a small 5th generation family farm. Yes, it is small, the gates might not hang perfectly, the hedgerows are pretty wild, and grass grows in the middle of the lanes, unusual wild flowers spring up hither & thither as they wish to, but 5 generations in, we feel a deep connection with this land.
We have an old, sometimes reliable Leyland, 5 kids & a love for our little patch of Ireland. Sons, father, his father & his father & his father before him have all walked this land, cared for it, loved it and struggled to make a living from such a small patch, but they all have strived to keep it in good stead for the next generation.
Back in 2008, whilst out picking blackberries our youngest daughter Emily looked up in the hedge & asked “What is that? ”she didn't know what a Rosehip was! We were shocked as we had presumed that if we knew what it was then surely she knew too. How wrong we were to presume that this part of country living as we knew it was automatically being passed on. We picked some Rosehips that day & that night rooted out an old recipe and the first time she tasted Rosehip Syrup it was in a wee cup, still warm from the pot. Over the next few years we sourced old recipes for Elderberry Syrup and more and our interest grew and grew. Our passionate connection with this land had deepened even further.
In April 2013 we decided to share our love for this land and its bounty and started a small business called The Wild Irish Foragers & Preservers. From the farm we personally hand harvest Wild Rosehips, Elderberries, Damsons, Elderflowers, Gorse, Rowanberries, Sloes, Spring Nettles, Blackberries, Honeysuckle, Goosegrass, Clovers to name but a few!. From these incredible, natural wild Irish ingredients we make Syrups, Sauces, Fruit Cheeses, Jellies, Pontack and our newest product, Shrubs.
We strive to recreate a taste of the past, recipes that were used in a bygone era. Wild food used in this way is part of Irish Food Heritage, a simple taste that has been almost forgotten. When we started out we went to Farmers Markets etc. and were amazed at the level of interest in our products and the amount of people who were so thrilled to taste a reminder of many of their childhoods.
All our wild berries, flowers and herbs are handpicked by the whole family, but Gordon is our main forager and all the Wildies are handmade by Sharon in small batches. To date, our products are stocked in wonderful independent shops such as The English Market in Cork, The Butlers Pantry stores in Dublin & Wicklow, Hereford & More, Tullamore, Crinkle Stores, Dingle & are used in many restaurants around the country such as Aniar in Galway & Harveys Point in Donegal and we have a growing interest from outside of Ireland. We also have a Market Stall at many Food Festivals countrywide such as Galway Food Festival, Bloom, Ballymaloe LitFest, Dingle Food Festival & much much more.
Our plans for the future are to open the farm & farmyards for Foraging Walks, Talks, Demos & a Wild Little Tea Shop!!!. We will update the progress on this as it comes to fruition & look forward to welcoming you to Millhouse Farm in the very near future. We can envision you now, wellies on ,strolling down the lane to meet us & share a warm cup of Elderberry Toddy before we have the pleasure of introducing you to the secrets of the natural wilds of The Ancient East/Midlands.
Gordon & Sharon & family
We feel we are listening to our land as caretakers rather than cultivators. Our land, if left be is providing for us in a very natural way. We, nature and the wildlife can all live together in harmony... and we can all thrive.
- Sharon Greene, Wild Irish Foragers & Preservers