We farm 50 acres just outside of Cookstown. We are working hard to try new things, growing flax for textiles and introducing more horticulture. Our hope is to make the farm more profitable but at the same time maintain our biodiversity and stay carbon negative.
The Mallon Farm was traditionally a mixed farm between Cookstown and Pomeroy, near the small village of The Rock. In the eighties and nineties it operated as a dairy farm then suckler in the noughties. Over the past 5 years we have been transitioning away from livestock towards growing food and fibre crops.
Flax, Fruit, Vegetables
Of the 50 acres, around 3 acres a year goes to growing flax, a crop which was grown on pretty much every farm in Northern Ireland forty years ago but which is rare to see now. We have planted a small orchard with 50 trees. We are starting to try a lot more fruit, vegetables and herbs looking for more niche and profitable crops.
We put potatoes in an Honesty Trailer at the bottom of the road and get a really good price for them from our neighbours. We also sell produce through http://www.sourcegrow.co.uk (which we set up to help growers like us find a route to market). For the flax the main market will be the many hand spinners throughout the UK and Ireland and we will sell that online through www.mallonireland.com
Approach to regeneration and sustainability
The farm is already very wildlife friendly but not nearly productive or profitable enough, the two things are not mutually exclusive so we want to develop more no till and min till crops, bring more of the farm into the crop rotation, keep our old wildflower meadows and mature hedges. We’ve learned to love our messy unkempt farm and the wildlife loves it too.
Vision for 2030
We are working towards restoring the full supply chain for textiles so by 2030 we want to be growing flax, nettles and hemp and using every bit of the plants for sale as textile, biocomposites, bedding, and oil. We’d like to be generating more of our own power and using harvested rainwater and spring water. We’d like to be pretty much self sufficient for food and even a drop of cider.