I think that shopping for food as close as possible to where it is bred or grown and/or in a retail outlet where the owners can give you chapter and verse on the provenance of all the items they stock is an eminently sensible idea. The Waterfall Farm shop is a place that melds the close to source ideal, as it sells lamb from Waterfall Farm direct to the public, with the wished for good product knowledge as the owners are totally au fait with the origin and other details of the hand-picked range of mainly artisan foods that they sell.
The properly lovely location of Waterfall Farm and the Waterfall Farm shop is the scenic Glencree Valley in North Wicklow, not far from the picturesque village of Enniskerry and close by the entrance to the Powerscourt waterfall. To get there, by car, takes about thirty-five minutes from the centre of Dublin.
Michael Keegan and his wife Hannah Volger own the hundred and seventy acre Waterfall Farm. The Keegan family footprint is etched onto these acres as Michael’s family have farmed these fields for several generations. It’s a sheep farm where they raise and husband a pedigree breed called LLeyn. They also keep other farm animals: horses, hens rabbits, and some über cute pygmy goats as an attraction for visitors, especially junior ones, in a field next to the shop.
Michael and Hannah opened the farm shop in 2011. They were already selling their own lamb direct and as they knew that there were some tip-top farmers and food producers local to them in Wicklow opening a retail space seemed like a logical thing to do. Since then they have spread their food net further afield and the goods they now stock come from all parts of Ireland and there are also a few imported item.
The shop is a fair size but has a Tardis-que quality which has nothing to do with the square meterage but all to do with the fact that on a cursory glance it is difficult to believe that they there is such a variety of stock. You can buy: speciality teas, oils, organic herbs, jams, honey, ice cream, Irish farmhouse cheeses, milk, free-range eggs, seasonal fruit & vegetables, porridge oats, the utterly divine Tartine sourdough bread, and even some natural beauty products. A sentence on the farm’s website – http://www.waterfallfarm.ie – gives you an idea of Michael and Hannah’s food philosophy it says that: ‘All our food comes straight from farmers and producers who share our commitment to quality, sustainability and seasonality’.
The shop is a little off the beaten track off but the thing about shopping there is that visiting a shop on a farm, with its added attractions, is so much more of an adventure than a pedestrian trawl through the aisles of a supermarket stuffed to the gills with factory made foodstuffs. I am glad I came across the Waterfall Farm shop.
Note: The shop is open weekends only on Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 4pm.