Meet The Producer
Michael and Carmen O’Sullivan, Owners
Can you give me a sentence that captures the essence of your brand?
We are reconnecting people with locally and sustainably produced food that is fresh, delicious and nutrient dense. Good for health and good for the environment.
How did your career pathway bring you to this point in the business?
The business itself grew organically. We started off with four chickens for ourselves. Because of peoples interest in the eggs we increased the flock and started selling eggs from an honesty box outside our cottage. After a while Michael also started delivering eggs to people in Kinsale. Through word-of-mouth we received more enquiries and Michael expanded the egg deliveries and started delivering to people’s homes in Carrigaline and Rochestown.
When the pandemic hit last year, and restrictions made it more difficult for people to move about, Michael’s egg customers asked if he could source other produce. We decided that if we were going to do it we would do it right and focus purely on local, sustainably produced food, and source organic and chemical-free whenever possible.
Local growers and food producers, who were also impacted by the pandemic, were very helpful and happy to supply us with their great produce, and help us figure things out along the way. Once we started looking for local producers we were amazed at just how much high quality food is produced on our doorsteps. We got hooked and now love discovering new food producers and introducing their products to our customers.
My career (Carmen) previously was in computing and website development so those skills lent themselves very well to FARMSY. We’ve been able to build our own website and management systems. Michael has worked for the County Council for 20 years. He’s taken a career break this year to focus on FARMSY. Michael has a long history of back-garden agriculture, growing his own potatoes and veg on the acre around the cottage, so he has an understanding and love for growing food. And as a natural people person, Michael is great with our customers and the face-to-face side of the business.
When did you consider yourself a success?
When we see orders coming in each week we feel very grateful that people like the selection of produce we have sourced and choose to shop with us. Especially when we see repeat orders. That is very gratifying and we are very grateful for the support people have shown.
What advice would you give a younger version of yourself?
Not to be afraid of failure. Embrace it as part of the learning process, and the way to finding out what will work for you in life and in business.
What challenges does your industry face?
The logistics can be tricky. Getting freshly harvested and prepared products delivered to order can sometimes be difficult. We work with each individual producer, their location, food production cycle, availability, seasonality, etc. But we’re growing gradually and figuring these things out as we go.
How do you push through your worst times?
I love working with Michael, and think he enjoys working with me too! It’s great working alongside someone. We support each other whenever there is a challenge, and enjoy the little success and achievements along the way. And as they say “two heads are better than one”.
The biggest challenge to date has been the steep learning curve. Our suppliers and customers have been a great support over the last few months and we’re very proud of how much we have achieved in such a short timeframe.
Have you recently developed any new innovative products?
We’ve recently started selling Silkie hen eggs which have proved very popular. Silkie eggs have been a family favourite for years, my parents also kept Silkie hens. They produce a small white egg which has a greater yoke to white ratio than a hen egg. The yoke has a gorgeous rich flavour and the white has a ‘silky’ smooth texture. The Silkie isn’t used commercially because they are a naturally broody bird and don’t produce as many eggs as the red hen, so Silkie eggs are currently exclusive to FARMSY.
To let people sample different eggs we’ve also put together an Egg Selection Box which contains 2 duck eggs, 2 hen eggs and 2 Silkie eggs.
Where are your products stocked?
All the products we source are available through our website – farmsy.ie stock free range and organic eggs, duck and silkie eggs, non-homogenised dairy products from Gloun Cross Dairy, goats kefir and yogurt from Cottage Orchard Farm, Arbutus sourdough breads, fermented foods from The Cultured Food Co. and WASi seaweed pesto. We have local Molaga honey from Timoleague, chemical-free and organic vegetables from Food For Humans, Horizon Farm and Ancient Organics. We supply organic Dexter, Hereford and Angus meat from Duhallow Organics. Organic smoked salmon, chicken, bacon and duck from Ummera Smoke House. We also have West Cork Coffee, and recently apple juice produced by Mealagulla Orchard just outside Cork city. For those with a sweet tooth, we have divine chocolate from David Chocolatier and delicious cakes from Pie Patch Bakery.