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28th Aug 2018

Lovin Dubliners: Olly’s Farm Tell Us How He’s Created A Buzzing Business

Éadaoin Fitzmaurice

Have you ever visited someones home and thought “Omg I wish I Lived here”?

Well, that is exactly what happened to me when I arrived at Olly’s Farm.

Tucked away on a quiet country road just twenty minutes outside of the city, you’ll find Olly and his partner Christian’s home nestled in the Dublin mountains.

From the main road you can see every corner of the quaint farm in all it’s glory – a field with two or three cows and a goat, an orchard, a vegetable patch and of course, Olly’s prised possession: His beehives.

Olly moved out to his farm back in 2012 with the aim to produce all of his own food and honey.

What started as a personal project, a hive or two to make enough honey for himself, soon developed into Olly’s biggest business driver.

Olly now has 70+ hives located all around Dublin and he’s won countless awards for his honey including a Blas na hEireann title last year.

It’s clear to see why he was an ideal fit for Lovin Dubliners.

Last week I joined him on his farm and he showed me his hives along with the delicious vegetables and berries he was growing. (I swear I nearly ate every strawberry he had.)

After a day of fun on the farm, I asked Olly how this all came about.

What does being a beekeeper involve?

“The job involves looking after the beehives. If you can imagine, every hive has a queen and the worker bees. My job is to make sure they stay in their hives and make some honey for me that I can then sell on.”

Olly began as a student in the Botanic Gardens back in 1997 and his grá for bees developed from there. Just before he moved up to his home in the valley, he started beekeeping. His new home meant that he had a good location and lots of space to do it.

He pretty much taught himself how to do it – reading, looking at videos online and of course trial and error.

Where do you distribute your honey?

“My beehives are kept in some pretty cool places. I have some hives on the roof of the Teeling Distillery, in Dublin 8, which is a deadly collaboration. Also, in the orchard in Powerscourt Estate, in Kilruddery House, in Lucan, Ballycullen, Dalkey and here on the farm.”

The interesting thing about this is the honey from all of these areas, though in Dublin, taste completely different. Olly has each of them in their own jar and you can even see that they are different colours.

It’s pretty amazing.

Can honey help with allergies and hay fever or is that a myth?

“If you ask a doctor they’ll say it’s a myth but the feedback I’m getting from a lot of customers is that it has actually cured them. Some people say it’s like a placebo effect because you think it’s going to heal you but even if you read some of the comments on my website or Facebook, it’s quite inspiring.

There was a guy in Rathfarnham who contacted me when my honey had run out in the shops and he said he’d been eating my honey for the last two years and he suffered from really bad migraines but hadn’t had them since but he started getting them again. He came up to the farm to get a jar, he said he couldn’t wait until it was back in the shops.”

Olly’s honey is made in the most natural way as possible. The honey goes into the jar in as little steps as possible – not heating, no pasteurising, so fine-filtering so it’s basically raw with all of the live enzymes.

What advice do you have for people who want to grow their own produce?

“My advice would be to start small. You can start on the balcony of your apartment with some strawberry plants or herbs.”

You can buy Olly’s honey in 15 shops around Dublin, including Supervalue in Knocklyon and Firhouse.

You’ll also find it in small cafés and specialty shops in the city. I first came across Olly’s honey while on a Lovin Dubliners shoot in The Bakery by The Cupcake Bloke.

You can also find it in The County Fair in Tallaght, Cavistons in Glasthule, Select Stores in Dalkey.

To find out more click here.