Mrs Halley’s Summer Fruits
Eamonn and Mairead Halley’s fruit farm is just half a mile north of Waterford City. They have been supplying us for about 20 years now with summer fruits of the most wonderful quality – mostly raspberries but also loganberries, tayberries, red currants, black currants, gooseberries, plums, greengage and damsons when available!
Fruit farming is a tricky business. The plants and trees seem so demanding that anything less than untiring devotion is likely to result in set back and failure. Eamonn and Mairead both grew up on the land. Mairead’s family were farmers from Shanagary, Co. Cork and neighbours of the Allens of Ballymaloe. Indeed she recalls that the raspberries grown by Mr Allen were not entirely safe from the children of the area! Eamonn’s father had a successful solicitor’s practice in the city and was a keen horticulturalist in his spare time.
Eamonn and Mairead planted their land in the 1980s and supplied Chivers with raspberries for jam. A better price could, of course, be achieved by selling to individuals who called to the farm and, as word spread, this route to market became more and more significant. Mairead then began selling to a small number of selected shops and before long, they were selling their entire production locally. By now they had diversified into other fruit, although the bulk of the crop has always been raspberries.
Quality has always been more important than quantity to the Halleys. Like true artisans, they are fiercely proud of what they produce and nothing Mairead has delivered to us has been less than top quality! She is also very particular about which shops she delivers to (at the moment there are only 3!) and with good reason: most of the fruit is so delicate and easily damaged that is needs to be displayed carefully and sold quickly. Thankfully we are good at that – we understand well that certain products need special care and we are happy to give it. Products like the Halleys’ Summer Fruit are precious, to be appreciated and savoured while summer smiles.