Peak twins: the Flynn brothers are a happy, healthy pair
David and Stephen Flynn, founders of Greystones health food mecca The Happy Pear, are walking, talking and raw-food-eating advertisements for their way of life
‘We grew up on the standard Irish diet of meat and two veg, and an apple a day, to keep the doctor away. We played a lot of sport and were hot-blooded jocks who believed meat to be top of the food chain.
After leaving school, neither of us knew what to do in college. Dad suggested we study business, so that’s what happened. At the time, we were all about climbing the social ladder, and our definition of success was to be millionaires by the time we were 30, and to show off with flashy cars and planes. Our belief was that whoever had the most money was top of the pile.
After college, neither of us wanted to get a “real” job so we went travelling – separately – for a few years. Our paths crossed with some interesting people whose thinking was very different to ours. It set us searching for the truth, well, our own truth anyway. We tried out everything alternative we could find, and ended up living on organic farms, in meditation centres and international communities and all sorts of wild and wacky places.
We both realised we cared deeply about food, health and community. During our adventures we both – again, separately – started experimenting with our diets to see how this affected our health. We ended up completely changing how we ate. First, we went vegetarian, and then vegan, and finally we went for raw food diets. To be honest, we got a bit neurotic and obsessive about it. David remembers doing a 30-mile race in Costa Rica without training to see if his new diet had given him any new superpowers. He managed to finish it, but it hurt a lot.
We returned home from our adventures with a real shift in perspective. Success had been all about material things: you were a success if you were rich and had lots of stuff. Now, it was all about doing something you loved and that gave you a real purpose; it was about living somewhere with a sense of community around you, and it was about real food and being healthy. So with these ideals, and the intention of starting a healthy food revolution, we opened The Happy Pear in 2004 as a greengrocer’s shop.
Since then The Happy Pear has grown in many ways. We have a wholefood café alongside our greengrocer and health food shop and a second one in Shoreline, the leisure centre on the outskirts of Greystones, Co Wicklow. We have a sprout and wheatgrass farm (run by our younger brother, Darragh) and are partners in a plum and cherry farm. We give health education courses at night, such as our Happy Heart Course, and we have an online shop and health education course.
The first 10 years have been a fantastic adventure and there are many chapters left to come in our healthy food revolution.
The Happy Pear by David and Stephen Flynn, is published by Penguin Ireland on October 2nd, €18.99. happyheartcourse.com