Below are some more specific eco-practices in our sustainable culture by department:
Our straw bales are made from our Rape Seed crops. Rape straw is not suitable for feeding or bedding animals, and is thus a waste product, that we use to fuel our Biomass boiler. Each Rape seed straw bale has a heat equivalent of approximately 200 litres of oil.
This year the straw from our Barley crop was chopped at harvest and left on the field to generate carbon and organic matter in the soil.
We rear our own pigs for our kitchen on beans and grain grown on our farm. Pigs are processed locally, reducing food miles and supporting our local butchers. Pig manure is used as farm fertiliser.
Eggs used in our kitchen and café are produced Free Range on our farm. Hens feed on home-grown grain.
We have reduced the management of our forestry, to sustain its natural habitat. Clear nature walks are carefully maintained for guests. Much of the land around Ballymaloe House has been designated for re-wilding. These wildflower meadows provide an important habitat for wildlife. Every year we continue to commit to planting an extensive number of trees and shrubs, including some native Irish trees.
The farm planted 10 acres of Ash trees over 20 years ago. These trees have already clocked up enormous carbon credits.
We seed save and grow produce from seed annually.
Each year the farm sows 12 acres with a seed mixture of brassicas and wild flowers under an EU wild bird habitat scheme. This area goes goes to seed over the summer and is available as a food source and cover for small birds over the winter months.
We have strategically planted certain plant species to encourage the welfare of butterflies. Here is an image of a rare butterfly, the Comma, recently seen living at Ballymaloe House.
We farm our land with wildlife welfare in mind. We look very favourably and embrace innovative farming and conservation schemes i.e., Bat boxes, Bird Breeding boxes, Owl Nesting boxes, BirdWatch Garden bird survey etc...
Our walled garden is managed organically providing a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and flowers for the house.
The fruits include..
We planted a 2 acres apple orchard on the grounds in 2014, which now provides us with both apple juice and Ballymaloe cider.
Our walled garden provides all the flowers used to decorate our dining tables and bedrooms throughout the year.
Floral Design: we use only glass and ceramic vases and never support flowers with oasis (floral foam). Our floral designer works to best practices in sustainable floristry www.sustainablefloristry.org
All the dead flowers from bedrooms and dining rooms, along with all green cuttings from the garden, are composted and returned to the soil.
Ballymaloe’s wastewater is treated by our own treatment plant, and then flows through our constructed reed bed for final treatment.
We have beehives on the Ballymaloe estate. They are managed by Niall at East Cork Bees and the honey produced is used in our restaurant.
Our staff use bicycles and electric buggies to travel around the farm and grounds.
Neighbouring farmers sheep graze on our front drive to keep the weeds at bay, and save on grass cutting.
We write our menus daily around the freshest seasonal and local produce available.
We source all our meats locally on the carcass, and use every part of the animal i.e., main components, secondary parts for mincing and bones for stocks. No waste.
Fish is sourced locally from local fishermen and women in the nearby fishing village of Ballycotton.
The kitchen uses vegetables and fruit from our own walled garden, the nearby Ballymaloe Cookery School gardens and glasshouses, Kilbrack organic farm and other local producers.
We make batches of food in smaller quantities to avoid waste.
We do not buy readymade foods as a quick meal for staff (i.e., chips), our staff meals are prepared from scratch with local produce.
We provide reusable plastic, grease proof paper and steel containers for storing food instead of using cling film and foil.
We use recyclable paper tape for labelling.
Each section in our kitchen has a compost.
We compost our fish waste.
Used coffee grinds go to compost.
We use Eco Lily cleaning products throughout Ballymaloe House.
We use the Irish company Voya products in our bedrooms and Robyn’s Handmade Natural soaps, made on the farm using farm lavender etc.
We encourage our guests to reuse their towels, thus saving a significant amount of water and energy.
Leave No Trace Ireland is a network of organisations and individuals promoting the responsible recreational use of the outdoors. As nature has become a new luxury, our collective mark on the environment and nature, increases. At the heart of the Leave No Trace initiative are 7 principles for reducing the damage caused by outdoor activities: