Published on June 2nd, 2010 | by Staples Soccer


Sanders McNair ’09: Ireland’s Newest Organic Farmer

Last summer Sanders McNair ’09 wrote a food blog covering Fairfield County.

Sanders McNair, in his pre-farming days.

This summer he’s in Ireland.  He’s learning about organic food, growing his own — and eating quite well.

And he’s back with another blog.  This one — “WWOOF at The Ballymaloe House” — covers his intriguing, exciting, very Sanders-esque experiences.

“WWOOF” stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms — an international organization that matches volunteers with places offering food, accommodations, and opportunities to learn about organic lifestyles.

Ballymaloe House is a world renowned hotel, restaurant and cooking school in County Cork, where Sanders is working hard and enjoying life.

Here — in Sanders’ own words — is an explanation of what he’s doing, and how, posted a couple of weeks ago before he left:

So here’s the deal.  I’m going to be in Ireland the next three weeks with two friends, Mel and Emily (although we’ll all be going different dates).  I’ll be writing about my adventures on this blog.  Hopefully I’ll be able to update it every day but I doubt that will happen. Enjoy.

We’re doing a program called WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms).  (Check it out here WWOOF is in countries from Sweden to South Africa to China to Uruguay and even throughout the US.
Unfortunately I won’t be building a dry cleaning center for homeless leprechauns on this trip.  Instead I’ll hopefully be doing some farming, traveling and eating fresh produce.
Simply, WWOOF gave me a list of farms looking for workers and I emailed a bunch asking to work for them in exchange for food and shelter (that’s how WWOOF works), and (yes I use a lot of parentheses). Anyways, some farms already had workers, others wanted us to work.
Long story short:  I email one family.  They say we already have wwoofers coming, but my relative needs some wwoofers on her farm.  Her relative emails us asking us to come work at her farm….and sends us this link of the farm.
I immediately said yes.  Check out that link and scroll over “accomodations” and click “gallery”.  You’ll understand why I chose this place.
I knew nothing about The Ballymaloe House (pronounced Ballymaloo…I think) except for the website/what the woman had told me.  I soon found out that my parents stayed there in the 80s or so.  The hotel is also home to one of the top cooking schools/restaurants in all of Ireland and is owned by Darina Allen, famous TV chef and pioneer of the European slow food, farm to table movement.  It has its own 200 acre farm and all food for the restaurant is grown on the farm or other nearby farms.
Ballymaloe is in the southeast corner of Ireland just miles off the coast and about 45 minutes from Cork…if any of you have memorized a map of Ireland.  (I know most people have)
I’ve yet to leave for Ireland, but it should be a great time as I’ll be able to travel, cook, farm, eat delicious organic/local food.  I’m almost as excited as Snookie was to leave for the Jersey Shore!  I’m eager to see and experience all the Emerald Isle has to offer.
When Sanders returns, he will transfer to Wake Forest University.  We look forward to more tales of Ireland, and some excellently prepared meals for the Staples soccer team.

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