Gerry’s got spud ‘a-peel’
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.