Gubbeen: Magic Meeting with the Fergusons!
Leaving Ireland was a big decision and before doing so to start our “big trip”, we realised that we wanted to meet a few cheese producers that we liked, like Milleens, Durrus , Toonsbridge, Gubbeen, and so on…
Unfortunately, because of the amount of time we had left and the number of things we had to sort out before leaving, we couldn’t meet them all. I contacted Fingal Ferguson from Gubbeen to ask if we could come over, visit the farm and interview him. He accepted straight away, we were delighted and drove down to the South-West.
It was our first interview of a food producer back then, we were super excited and super stressed at the same time. He offered to meet at the Schull market and go from there to the farm. We spent the previous night camping in Schull and went to the market in the morning. The atmosphere was brilliant: no stress, people smiling on a sunny day…
We met Fingal and went straight to the farm so he could show us around. It was Sunday and we are still very thankful that he spent this time with us when he could have stayed with his family.
Gubbeen Story & ethics
Gubbeen cheese was one of the cheese pioneers in Ireland, along with Durrus, they started in 79, 3 years after Veronica from Milleens had started the cheese revolution.
Gubbeen is a Family business, all the Fergusons work at the farm, from the parents who started it to Fingal developing the charcuterie range or his sister Clovisse growing the herbs and vegs.
I found that really impressive: everything is connected! They’ve created an ecosystem in the farm to guarantee their independence and respect the environment. Fingal takes pride in helping the local community to grow, using pigs from the area and herbs biodynamically grown at the farm. Every step of our visit was an eye-opening approach of farming, re-thinking the industry in a more responsible way.
Everything is made on a local scale; the pigs are born and bred on the farm… With the business growing, Fingal also started sourcing animals from other producers. For that matter and to keep the standards high, he created Piggy Co-op, a way of connecting with local farmers of top quality free range pork and getting the best of their production.
Thanks to this, Fingal selects the best pigs in Ireland and is able to track everything down about them. From a taste point of view, this approach provided the products with a real notion of terroir, since the main ingredients that are used come from the area.
You probably all know the Gubbeen products from the cheeses to the more recent charcuterie section.
Spending this day with Fingal at the farm was more than visiting a cheese producer, it was a full experience for us and we felt a real connection with Fingal’s family.
Their ethics and their inspirations from other countries to realise top quality Irish charcuterie and cheese makes Gubbeen one of the best producers in Ireland in their field. Once again, a big thanks to all of them for this amazing day at the farm, Food Vinebrations will never forget it and we hope to come back soon!
If you want to feel more the groove and atmosphere around Gubbeen, I highly recommend that you watch the below video by "The People we Meet" (Dave O'Carroll) !