Ter­mon­feckin farmer Gerry has spud ‘a-peel’ with great idea

Drogheda Independent - - FRONT PAGE - By ALI­SON COMYN

A Ter­mon­feckin farmer has grabbed the at­ten­tion of na­tional me­dia by sell­ing his spuds from a vend­ing ma­chine near his home.

Gerry Fin­negan of Ter­mon­feckin Pota­toes says he can’t un­der­stand all the at­ten­tion as it’s a very sim­ple idea.

‘Look, the idea is to al­low you to buy spuds di­rectly from me, when­ever it suits you, so it cuts out the mid­dle man,’ he told the Drogheda In­de­pen­dent.

‘When you buy spuds from the su­per­mar­ket, God only knows where some of them come from, and with ours, you know they are be­ing grown in the soil around you, and you’re buy­ing them the next day.’

Gerry says he doesn’t know why there is such a fuss about his ma­chine, as there are a few around Na­van, but busi­ness is cer­tainly pick­ing up as a re­sult!

‘I’m 63 and don’t want to be work­ing all my life, so this will make it a lit­tle eas­ier to sell on the prod­uct,’ says Gerry.

‘It’s be­come harder to make a liv­ing in farm­ing and lo­cal pro­duce, and even my sons have to work on potato farms in Meath, as I wouldn’t be able to pay them de­cent wages.

That is the se­ri­ous side to what Gerry is hop­ing to achieve, as he says the large multi­na­tion­als are killing smaller farm­ers in Ire­land.

‘ There were once 80 farm­ers in the Ter­mon­feckin area, and now there are prob­a­bly 20,’ says Gerry, who is mar­ried to Ca­tri­ona, and has three chil­dren, Louise a teacher in Na­van, and Tom and Ger­ard, also farm­ers.

‘When you spend €100 in a su­per­mar­ket, they are tak­ing €51 of that, and they want to sell things like pota­toes and beef so cheaply but still make a profit, we are not be­ing paid enough to live on.’

Gerry has been farm­ing pota­toes and beef for decades and is the sec­ond gen­er­a­tion of Fin­negan’s in Gar­veystown, fol­low­ing in his fa­ther Tom’s foot­steps.

He says food pro­duc­tion is a rough busi­ness to be in now, and the prob­lem with the low-cost su­per­mar­kets is sus­tain­abil­ity.

‘It’s just not pos­si­ble to sus­tain these low prices and ex­pect farm­ers and other pro­duc­ers to take the hit,’ he adds,

So his so­lu­tion is the potato vend­ing ma­chine, sim­i­lar to the egg vend­ing ma­chine avail­able at Oliver Hoey‘s farm, Bal­ly­makenny.

The ma­chines them­selves are im­ported by a com­pany in Dun­dalk, and very sim­ple to use, any hour of the day or night.

‘At the mo­ment, we are sell­ing Queen’s, which are lovely and floury, but we will switch to roost­ers soon,’ he ex­plains.

‘I come down and change the stock if I need to every few days, so cus­tomers know they are get­ting the best.’

The ma­chine is near the house on the Sheet­land Road, and Gerry says just look for the sign that says ‘Potato Vend­ing Ma­chine’!

‘You’ll need €5 in coins,’ he ex­plains ‘and for that you’ll get a 5kg bag of fresh, lo­cal pro­duce, and you know you’re get­ting con­sis­tency in qual­ity and shop­ping lo­cal too.’

Gerry Fin­negan sells his pota­toes from a vend­ing mach­ing on Sheet­land Road, Ter­mon­feckin.

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