Stephen McCormack - McCormack Family Farms

"We have not increased our baby leaf or herb production due to the higher costs"

The Irish salad season is in full production at McCormack Family Farms in County Meath. The basil crop was planted two weeks ago and should be ready for the first harvest in a few weeks.

"We are very happy about how the salad crops are going so far," said Stephen McCormack. "The uptake from the retailers for Irish grown product has been very positive, and food service is very busy, especially for this time of the year."

According to Stephen, it is busier than at the same time in 2019, with people going out more and hotels are full, even mid-week, both with locals and tourists. He admits that this may change as people start to feel the pinch of inflation.

McCormack's is the first company to grow organic spinach commercially in Ireland and launched their own brand into Lidl last year, new season of organic spinach will start end of June and continue until October. This year they will double the area from 0.5 ha to 1 ha in the basil production. Stephen said they would grow more if they had more glasshouses, but it is not the time for big expansions due to inflation, steel, and building costs.

"We have not increased our baby leaf or herb production due to the higher costs and will sit tight this year and see how the season goes. I would prefer to be short of produce than have it wasted in the field due to low sales or production costing more than we receive for our packed finished produce."

"In terms of turnover, we are very busy, but our margins are down, and our customers have been slow to react to the increase in input costs. They have upped prices in certain lines, and I hope this will continue. Our main cost is power which has increased by over 60%. This is not an area where we can cut back on since we need power in the packhouse and for storage 24/7. It's the same with diesel for our transport. We are installing roof solar panels in the next couple of weeks. This will help but not solve the issue."

The labor situation was bad over the last few months, but now as colleges have more or less finished for the summer, more workers are becoming available.

"I think our customers will get used to the increase in prices, and in a couple of weeks/months, it will become the norm. I have not seen the retailers pass on any of the increases to consumers yet, not on our salad and herb lines."

For more information:
Stephen McCormack
McCormack Family Farms
Tel: +353 46 902 56 95    

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