Our first producer spotlight in this series is Dublin Hills Goats Cheese. Husband and wife duo, Brigid and Tim McGlynn, started their business with the aim of using their small farm to produce some amazing Irish produce. What started as delivering free range eggs door to door, led to their participation in SuperValu’s Food Academy, which has helped transform them into what they are today – a successful Irish business producing delicious goats cheese from their farm!
This producer spotlight is part of our series for the brands that will be highlighted at TheTaste.ie Producer’s Row with Taste of Dublin. These producers will be present during the festival, so make sure to come along and try them out. You can purchase tickets here, and learn more about the Producer’s Row here
Have you always had a great love of food?
I have always been involved in food production as a farmer/agriculturalist in developing countries here at home. I always believed that small farmers must add value to their product and sell it as direct as possible to the consumer/restaurant/retail in order to maximize their income.
Can you tell me about your own background in the food industry?
I worked with small scale dairy farmers in developing countries for many years – support and accompanying them along their path to increase farm and family income. This gave me a big interest in producing quality food that was better than what you ‘get in the shops’.
What inspired you to set up your business? Did you notice a gap in the market?
On return to Dubin in 2000, my wife Brigid and I decided to put into practice what I had been preaching while working with farmers abroad. I decided to develop our own small 50 acres farm on the foothills of the Dublin Mountains in Tallaght. We began producing free range eggs from a small flock and delivered door to door to about 600 customers close to our farm. We then developed allotments for rent to egg customers for vegetable production. Today we have about 800 free range hens and 60 allotments. In 2022 we started Dublin Hills Goats Cheese and Milk from a herd of 36 milking goats. We are trying to diversify our farm output in order to have a more secure farm income while producing quality food which we sell at a premium price.
How did you set up the business and how has it been growing over time?
In 2022 we received support from the Food Academy/LEO to develop our Goats Cheese and Milk business. We still produce free range eggs and have 60 allotments for rent. We would hope to grow our cheese business by increasing the number of goats while still maintaining the hand crafted attention to detail in the production of our cheese.
Is this your first time taking part in Taste of Dublin?
Do you have anything special planned for your stand at Taste of Dublin?
We will do tastings of Dublin Hills Goats Cheese – Original and Honey flavor – and hope to get good sales response. We sell cheese in 120g tubs and produce 500g logs for the restaurants.
Where do you source the ingredients used to make your product(s)?
All our ingredients for the goat’s cheese are sourced from the farm apart from salt and starter culture. The milk is produced by our own herd of goats grazing lush pastures on the foothills of the Dublin Mountains. The cheese room is located next door to the dairy of the milking parlour and milk is pumped directly through a pipe in the wall into the cheese room. We have beehives on our farm managed by the professional beekeeper Olly Nolan of Ollys Farm Honey. This local premium quality honey is used in our honey flavoured cheese.
Can you tell me about some of the benefits associated with your product(s)e?
Goats milk has less lactose and more calcium than cow’s milk and is great for dairy sensitive individuals. ||The fat in goats milk and cheese is simple and more easily digested than cow’s milk. Anecdotally, goats milk and products are thought to be good in the treatment of psoriasis and eczema, and helps reduce cholesterol levels.
How important has social media been for you in spreading the word?
We are on Instagram and Facebook as Dublin Hills Goats Cheese. Social media is new to me but with the help of a friend I successfully launched Dublin Hills Goats Cheese on the social media platforms.
What makes your product unique?
We are the only Dublin farmer or producer of goat’s milk and cheese.
Where can people get your product (shops, restaurants?)
Retails. Selected SuperValu stores in Tallaght/Firhouse area.
- Lotts & Co. – Terenure, Clontarf, Beggars Bush
- The Pantry, Green Door Market, Bluebell
- The Hopsack, Rathmines Shopping Centre
- Fresh & Wild, Upper Rathmines Road
- Restaurants The Merry Ploughboy, Rathfarnham
- The Step Inn, Stepaside
- The Edge Café, Tallaght
- Wallace Asti Italian Restaurant, Russell St, Drumcondra
- Taylors Three Rock, Rathfarnham
- The Glenside Pub, Churchtown
- Churchtown Stores Bar, Churchtown
What, do you think, are some of the most interesting dishes that have been created with your product? Do you have any favourites?
All the restaurants have used the product in different ways:
Gavin in Merry Ploughboy has produced a fried cheese bon bon in a salad
The Edge in Tallaght have produced a very colourful healthy walnut Goats Cheese salad
Ian in Churchtown stores and Roger in Glenside have both produced very imaginative and tasty salads.
Andres in Wallace Asti has included our cheese in a fantastic vegetarian pizza and produced and exciting starter using hot cheese.
Are there any other small Irish food producers you admire?
- My fellow Tallaght farmer, Olly Nolan of Ollys Farm Honey ,participated in the Food Academy Programme a few years before me and was of great help and encouragement when I started the Dublin Hills Goats Cheese project.
- I participate in our local market in Firhouse which is held once a month in carpark of Speaker Connolly Pub. This craft/food market was started by Laura Teagan of Teagan treats Jams and preserves. She has been an inspiration in the locality for other food producers and craft makers.
- Likewise, Andy Pratt of Raw Juice Company has been very supportive with advice and suggestions. Andy produces a cold pressed juice which is a quality product with great flavour and pure goodness.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced since going into business?
Time to carry out all the functions which are involved in promoting a food business – production, marketing, sales, distribution/deliveries as well as keeping the farm operating to produce the quality raw ingredients. I was lucky to find two people of the caliber of Yun Lian Zhou and Feidhlim Glynn to help me on the farm. My wife Brigid, though working fulltime herself, is of enormous support both on the farm and in deliveries to shops and customers.
What do you feel is your biggest achievement to date with this business?
We got it over the line and up and running in 2022 after a big effort to meet all the deadlines. In our first year our cheese was nominated for Blás na hEireann awards in Dingle and we had a great weekend meeting other small scale producers and making contact with the retails buyers.
What does the future hold for your business?
Future depends on local support from restaurants. We are delighted with the response so far but have a long way to go.
Anything further to add?
Hopefully Taste of Dublin will expose more people to the only cheese produced in Dublin on the lush green pastures of the Dublin Mountains.
Whether you want to learn chef skills from the best, shake your way through a cocktail masterclass, transport yourself to a tapas bar in sunny Spain or find a fellow food lover to feast with, there is plenty to see, do and devour at Taste of Dublin.
TheTaste.ie is now sponsoring the Producer’s Row at Taste of Dublin 2023. The producers featured this year are:
- Open Hive
- Kylemore Farmhouse Cheese
- Ellie’s Kitchen Home Edition
- Coconut & Moo Moo
- Stinky & Scorchy
- Nana’s Tea
- Dublin Hills Goats Cheese