Korean natural farming techniques enhance couple’s raw milk business

November 30th, 2022 3:45 PM

By Brian Moore

Aishling and Aidan Murphy with the hand-bottled milk they produce on Newfoundland Farm overlooking Newfoundland Bay in Nohoval. The milk is unpasteurised, non-homogenised and chemical-free, but is lab tested for pathogens. (Photo: John Allen)

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Aidan and Aishling Murphy of Newfoundland farm in Nohoval are committed to working with nature and have looked to the east for inspiration on how to get top quality milk, and from healthier animals

FARMING, producing good food and an environment that is second to none, is sometimes taken for granted in West Cork.

However, for husband and wife team Aidan and Aishling Murphy of Newfoundland farm in Nohoval, nothing is taken for granted or left to chance when producing the highest quality grass and supplying their customers with fresh, raw milk.

Aidan is the third generation of Murphy’s to run the farm and after years of preparation, hard work and dedication, Newfoundland Farm will be certified fully organic early in 2023.

‘We are looking forward to our organic certification,’ Aishling said.

‘For us it has been challenging but very rewarding, especially working so much more closely with nature.’

Aidan is an advocate for and has been applying the techniques of Korean Natural Farming (KNF) at Newfoundland Farm.

Korean natural farming (KNF) is an organic agricultural practice that takes advantage of indigenous microorganisms (IMO) (bacteria, fungi, nematodes and protozoa) to produce fertile soils that yield high output without the use of herbicides or pesticides.

‘We became somewhat disenchanted with modern farming methods and, after a lot of research and adaptation, we have found that we are producing excellent milk from healthier and more satisfied animals,’ Aishling said.

‘We are also beginning to see very positive results using KNF and for us this is incredibly important to us and to what we are doing here and is, we know, important to our customers as well,’ she added.

KNF also emphasises self-sufficiency by limiting external inputs and relying on recycled farm waste to produce biologically active inputs.

Aidan now makes all his decisions at the farm using KNF and ensuring that all inputs are natural and support good mycobacterial life in the land.

Selling raw milk is now legal in Ireland and for sellers and retailers, the same laws governing any foodstuffs now apply.

Industry-led guidelines are in place and these include a mandatory advice label which will must appear on the bottle, as well as a strict testing regime and implementation of high hygiene levels on the farm and for milking and farmers intending to sell any quantity of raw milk in excess of 30 litres per week must register with the Department of Agriculture.

All of this is complied with on Newfoundland Farm.

Aidan and Aishling sell their raw milk directly from their farm in Nohoval to customers across West Cork.

‘Doing our research we found that our customers and more and more people want to buy a product that is delicious and is produced in a way that is kind to and in tune with the environment,’ Aishling said.

‘Our milk is unpasteurised, non-homogenised and chemical-free but is lab tested for pathogens. We use glass refundable bottles and you will get a bottle of creamy milk just like our grandparents were used to.’

Aishling and Aidan also wanted to be part of and to support the locally-produced movement.

‘We always had a yearning to start a small business, and during lockdown we had the time to explore this,’ said Aishling, who also completed a diploma in speciality food production at UCC.

‘We also wanted to get to know our customers more, this is very important to us, not just from a research or feedback point of view, but because sometimes you’ll find that there is disconnect farmers who are producing the food and the people that are eating it.

‘Getting to know our customers also gives us the opportunity to know exactly what they want and what they think of our milk. This is incredibly satisfying,’ added ishling.

Newfoundland Farm raw milk is on sale from Skibbereen to Blackrock in the city, and Aidan and Aishling also sell at the Kinsale’s farmers’ market every Wednesday.

For the future, Aidan and Aishling intend to return more biodiversity to the farm, which will, in turn, they know, only enhance their environment and their milk.

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