John and Ann Commins, suckler farmers from Two Mile Borris in County Tipperary decided to try a new venture to enhance the viability of their fourth generation family farm. They decided to farm pure-bred Piedmontese cattle. Piedmontese cattle are native to the Piedmont region in the North-west of Italy and are known by their snow-white colour. Not only this, but the meat they produce is unique in that is has a very low fat content, is high in protein and omega 3, and is flavourful. Today Ann & John have 80 pure bred Pedigree Piedmontese cows.
They sought the support of LEADER to develop their own on-farm processing unit, to allow them to process their own unique products under their brand Blackcastle Farm to supply the Irish retail, restaurant and direct selling trade with their premium Piedmontese beef.
Control of the Supply Chain
The development of the on farm processing unit allows John & Ann to control their whole supply chain from their own farm. This has benefits for direct selling and their online shop, but also for customers who view this as a unique selling point.
Creation of Value Added Products
In developing the unit, John and Ann included a raw food and a cooked food kitchen allowing them to develop a range of raw and value added products from their premium Piedmontese Beef. For example, they developed a 1% low fat BlackCastle Farm Sausage which got accepted on the prestigious Aldi Grow Programme and is due to return to shelves this September.
Food Tours & Workshops
In developing the unit, additional visitor spaces and facilities were developed to allow Blackcastle Farm to host food tours and workshops. For example, John and Ann hope can use this facility to run workshops on curing your own meats or making your own sausages as well as opening it up to other types of workshops including traditional skills and crafts.
This project was supported as part of the LEADER Programme 2014-2020 under Theme 1: Economic Development, Enterprise Development and Job Creation and the sub-theme Enterprise Development. The Local Action Group is Tipperary LCDC and the Implementing Partner is North Tipperary Development Company.