What a gorgeous weekend we've just had, the sun was shining so I decided to drive to the little village of Straid, Co. Antrim to visit the Ballylagan Organic Farm. I had heard so many fabulous things about it, I had to go myself and try it out.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, Ballylagan is a working, fully certified organic farm – it was actually the first farm in Co. Antrim to achieve organic certification from the Soil Association back in the early nineties. Since then it has continued to develop and grow into the business it is today. Then in 1999 they opened their farm shop – it was their outlet to sell all the home grown produce, but has now grown into a mini market place selling pretty much anything you would need to live an organic and sustainable life. Since that they have opened their Tea Rooms and Guest House which are perfect additions to the farm, as now you can eat and stay there and really make the most of your visit.
After a twenty minute drive from Belfast we arrived at the farm, and as we turned into the entrance and drove past the lake, I knew I was going to like this place. I liked it even more when I found out they make all their food fresh that morning – including the bread – and love that they use the fresh produce from the farm. Our lunch was delicious, and the staff were all very friendly and helpful – we couldn't fault it.
After lunch we went for a short walk around the grounds and saw some pigs and hens, which the kids loved. There is a specific 1km farm walk you can do, but we didn’t do it – we had a baby and we were wearing inappropriate footwear, as parts of it could be quite muddy – but we’ll definitely do it next time! Before we left we called into the shop and I was impressed at the vast selection of organic food, drinks and other products they sold. We stocked up on our fruits and veggies and I even picked up a lovely organic hand cream!
Ballylagan is definitely somewhere I would recommend and it’s somewhere I’ll be going back to. Considering only a mere 0.85% of the farming land in Northern Ireland is organic, and we are lagging behind the rest of the UK, it’s great to have found a thriving rural organic business twenty minutes from Belfast, full of rustic charm and yummy organic food – what's not to love.