Organic oats have been grown at Ballard Organic Farm for several years and because the crop was of such a high standard, it was decided to develop the grain into products which could be marketed under the brand, Kilbeggan Organic Foods.
Pat Lalor’s decision, in 1999, to move from conventional to organic farming was a pragmatic one – “to try and make some more money,” he admits.
“But I suppose since then I’ve come to enjoy the organic way of farming. When I was a conventional farmer, I was a scientific farmer. Now, I’m a biological farmer. My job is to nurture the soil, look after it, get it into the best possible state of health, so it will grow crops that are disease free.” The crucial difference is that, with conventional farming, if you encounter problems there is always a quick fix, a prescription. With organic farming, the plan is to avoid having problems, because there are no quick fixes.
In 2011 Pat Lalor set about producing, packaging and marketing his own consumer ready organic porridge. Two years on , his product is sold not only across Ireland, but also in markets as far away as New York, Singapore, Thailand and the Middle East.
Kilbeggan Organic Porridge Oats was awarded a Great Taste Award 2013. These awards attracted over 9,500 entries from Ireland and the UK and were blind-judged by a panel of food experts.