Feature Farm of the Month:

Glasraí Organic Farm

By Aoife Reilly, Grower at Glasraí Organic Farm

glasrai farm 2022

We are a 7 acre farm in Co. Mayo. We have a team of employees (2 full-time, 4 part-time) alongside ourselves. Our main market route is farmers markets however we also do some wholesale to a supermarket, some restaurants and a smallish weekly box scheme of around 30. We have a young family so its important for us to try to maintain a healthy farm/life balance. Also as we are getting older, we want to ensure that we have established a farm that is a manageable and viable size to support us and our team. We are 6 years farming here and we are finally starting to find our feet in the world of organic growing.

The farm itself is part field scale, part protected crop (we have 5 commercial sized polytunnels that are refurbished old mushroom tunnels), and part permanent bed system. The permanent bed area started off as a no dig experiment and we are currently doing some surface tillage. We will see how to decide to proceed with it based on this years method of using it. We try to be as biological a farm as our scale can be. Our main focus is on maintaining soil microbiology through the use of cover crops. No dig hasn’t won us over yet, but we are interested in following how it works on other farms. We are very cautious about deep mulch as practised on many no-dig farms. We have a hesitancy because of the potential of nutrient run off, the effects of over nitrification on soils, the lock up of certain nutrients by the over supply of others. I suppose we’d like to keep an eye on soil testing results from such farms, and we haven’t seen much data yet. We may however yet embrace no-dig in a system using green manures and non reliance on deep mulching for weed control. We are always learning and evolving.
glasrai 2022

I think the farm is an interesting place to work as we have a lot of philosophical discussions over tea breaks and carrot weeding sessions about life, soils, more life, and everyone here has a strong interest in what they are doing. The Glasrai team is probably my (Aoife’s) favourite thing about the farm. Farming can be a lonely tiresome job but surrounded by a great team it is transformed into an engaging fun environment. That is not to say we don’t work super duper hard here. We do.

We grow a huge variety of vegetables and are branching slowly into some soft fruits, some perennials, and in the future some top fruits too. We would like to increase our fruit resilience here in the west where so little fruit is actually grown. The damp climate doesn’t help. We also import organic fruit, some seasonal staples from Europe to keep the market stall interesting and provide as much of a range as possible so people can skip the fruit and veg section of the supermarket (at least that was the idea). We find it impossible to get supplies of organic Irish fruit to stock our market stalls.

We don’t have any intentions of growing our vegetable business, perhaps just getting our own supply of organic fruit up and running in season. Over the next few years we want to relax into and enjoy working on what we have worked very hard to establish.


Glasraí Organic Farm is based in Hollymount, Co. Mayo.

Email: info@glasrai.ie

Website: https://www.glasrai.ie/