Best day out: Kildare Farm Foods
Susan Sexton in her shop Kildare Farm Foods, Rathmuck, Co Kildare. Photograph: Barry Cronin
On this thoroughly modern Kildare farm you can meet Fluffy and Duster the ostrich couple whose eggs farmer David Sexton is hoping to hatch this year. There are Falabella miniature ponies that stand just eight hands high, a family of pot-bellied pigs and a clatter of ducks and turtles who’ve claimed the pond as their own.
This is just part of the appeal of Kildare Farm Foods (KFF), a 30-year-old farm shop business where customers can come and meet the inhabitants of the petting farm for free, before they shop.
They can also amuse themselves with a visit to the replica old-Irish country cottage that is filled with the kitchenalia of its time, including a butter churn and butter pats. KFF runs a free barbecue at the start of the summer and brings in Santa bearing free gifts at Christmas, all for the customers’ amusement.
Sexton, who runs the business with his wife Susan, is the third generation of his family to work this 150 acre beef and horse farm that has grown in size and stature from the 20-acre Land Commission plot his grandparents owned. In that time, the small shop has also grown.
“The amount of traffic our being shortlisted has generated for the business has been unbelievable,” Sexton says, thrilled. “People come up to me after Mass to congratulate me on the nomination.”
“From the moment you drive through the gates, you know you are in for something special,” reader Patricia Earle says, adding “everyone gets a thrill to see the hens and ducks waddling about the gardens. The shop has a relaxed, welcoming feel. It’s a sheer pleasure to spend time in.”
Kildare Farm Foods, Rathmuck, Co Kildare, tel: 045-526774, kildarefarmfoods.com