The Apple Farm
In 1967 my wife Alie and
I came to live in Ireland. Both of us were born in Holland where
I was a fruit-grower and Alie a domestic science teacher. We had heard from friends that land in Ireland was cheap. They told us that you could make a fortune growing apples in Ireland, and that Ireland was a great country in which to live. We bought the Moorstown farm from Tommy Sampson who was an electrician in Cahir and who then emigrated to Canada. For the 60
statute acres we paid £9,000.
We became new neighbours to the Stapleton
family, the Cullen family, the Hickey families, the Murphy family and the Hyland
family. I could write a story about each of these families but all
I will write is that they made us feel welcome and treated us well. And of course, we did our best to be good neighbours to them.
Fruit growing in Holland is very organised. The
fruit-grower produces his (or her) fruit and the selling is looked after by a co-op. It was very different in Ireland. Everybody had to sell their own produce, so we sold where we could.
Our first apples were sold to Bernie Boles in Cahir. Two
shillings for a bucket full of Bramley's, and even then we could only sell
one bucket full at a time.
We began to despair.
The Dungarvan fruit-growers society went broke. Showerings in Clonmel paid little.
Still we had to make a living. I decided to try to sell the farm. But there were no takers.
But there was a man along the Clonmel road who put up a sign in the spring which read "Cabbage plants for
sale". So we put up a sign "Apples for sale', and it worked.
can still name our first customers; Mrs. Burke and Mrs. Keating, and they may read this little story.
And we made up our mind to try again and stay here, and work our dream to have a fruit farm in Tipperary. That was in 1968 when things were bad in Ireland.
I will write a bit more.