From a humble start, two brothers built a farm, food and hotel business based on quality and provenance.
Redmond Farm, situated in Craanford, North Wexford is a compelling farm-to-fork story. A business success created by two brothers, Paddy and Tommy Redmond, who left school in the 80s to train and work within farmyard and residential construction. Starting with a small acreage, Redmond Farm has grown over the years, into an award-winning, 300-acre beef and vegetable farming enterprise. And then there is the matter of the two four-star hotels.
The farm employs a closed-loop, feed-supply chain, using a combination of home-produced forage and locally-sourced grain. The farm specialises in providing, dry-aged Angus beef, along with seasonal daily-fresh produce. All of this produce is destined for the family’s two bustling hotels, the Ashdown and Amber Springs. Paddy and Tommy Redmond, who employ over 300 people in the North Wexford area. Here they talk about their business and their focus on quality at all cost.
“When we left school, we went straight into the construction business, building farmyard walls.”
Farmland and hotels
At home, we kept cattle and pigs, and our Mother always had some turkeys for the Christmas market, says Paddy Redmond.
When we left school, we went straight into the construction business, building farmyard walls, before moving onto one-off housing and subsequently developing large-scale residential sites. During that period, we bought our first piece of neighbouring farmland and as the years went by – we kept adding to this.
Our first foray into the residential market was when we purchased a site in Gorey and built 150 houses on it. Then In 2001, we noticed that Gorey lacked a four-star hotel, so we decided to build the Ashdown Hotel, on the remainder of the site. We also bought a 40-acre site on the Courtown road and decided to build our second four-star property there, the Amber Springs Hotel and followed this recently with the M11 Business Campus in Gorey. It is a 35,000-sq. ft. build (one acre under roof). It’s an ideal base for international and high growth companies.
“We reckoned it could provide us with a fairly unique position in the marketplace.”
The Amber Springs Hotel opened just before the economic crash in 2008. We had the farm but we weren’t farming with a proper focus. By linking the two entities, we reckoned it could provide us with a fairly unique position in the marketplace. We aimed to ensure a consistent quality of beef, delivered to our hotels on a weekly basis. That’s why we decided to source beef, directly from our farm – and in turn to make the farm more profitable by adding value to our produce. Since 2007 we have built on the excellent reputation of our quality beef; we also produce our burger which is now the biggest seller in our restaurants. ‘The Farm’ restaurant, located in the Amber Springs Hotel, also specialises in Angus beef and steaks, produced from our farm, says Tommy.
“Both Hereford and Angus beef, give more finely marbled meat, which in turn delivers a more-tender, flavoured meat.”
At the start, we stocked the farm with a herd of purebred Charolais which we finished and sold to both meat factories and marts. Continental cattle tend to provide farmers with a higher economic return due to bigger carcase sizes and kill-out rates. However, both Hereford and Angus beef, give more finely marbled meat, which in turn delivers a more-tender, flavoured meat, than other beef breeds. We aim to present the best product possible, using only heifer meat at 21 to 22 months old and dry-ageing it for between 21 to 28 days. Over the years, we have all put a great deal of effort, into making Redmond Farm the success that it is. The next step is to provide additional revenue to the farm, which in essence means, adding more value to our fore-quarter beef, explains Paddy.
Every spring, we start off buying a cohort of Angus-cross calves, which we add to our existing complement of Angus weanlings and finishers already on the farm. On average we kill ten cattle per week, supplying the beef needed for both our hotels. Grazed grass, silage, maize, fodder beet, barley and wheat are the main components of our feed. We don’t change the parts of the cattle diet per se, as food affects marbling – and marbling can change everything.
In 2016, twenty-eight farmers from all across the country were shortlisted as part of Bord Bia’s ‘Origin Green Sustainable Beef and Dairy Producer Awards’. We were delighted to be selected as one of the eight overall category winners and subsequently received an award in the dairy ‘calf to beef’ category, says Paddy.
It’s based on specific sustainability criteria, which covers carbon foot-printing, biodiversity and water management. Just recently, our Amber Springs Hotel was also chosen as the winner of Ireland’s favourite family-friendly stay, in the Irish Independent’s, Reader Travel Awards for 2018.
Hard work, timing, attention to detail and without doubt, the valued support of our customers and staff, have all played a critical role in helping us succeed and attain, prestigious and highly-prized awards, such as these.