What we've been up to recently...
In January 2023, we welcomed Neven Maguire to Cotter Organic Farm, filming for his TV show 'Neven's Irish Greenway'.
Nick spoke with Neven about why we started direct selling our lamb, the benefits and challenges of being organic and 100% grass-fed, and the technology we use to make our lamb the most sustainable, ethically produced meat you can buy. What an absolute gentleman and truly genuine guy Neven is.
In November 2023, we welcomed the French equivalent to RTE 2, France 2 for a special piece all about lamb stew which +4 million tuned in to. The translation of the French parts:
"Nick Cotter, at only 23 years old, he runs the family sheepfold, 100% organic. The young man introduced digital technology into traditional breeding. Keeping animals healthy, while using a minimum of treatments… he himself has developed a sort of virtual veterinarian. An attention to detail that pays off : the quality of its lamb meat has won several awards in Ireland.
So in the Cotter family, the Sunday meal menu holds few surprises. For her Irish stew, Jackie Cotter starts by coating the meat in a mixture of flour, salt and pepper. Then she browns it for a few minutes in lamb fat.
She then adds a mixture of onions, carrots, celery and parsnips... And a liter of meat broth. Everything will simmer for 2 hours. The potatoes will be added at the end, to prevent them from falling apart. A recipe that Jacky got from her mother… who herself got it… guess who…
It seems that Irish stew is even better the next day... But at the Cotters, it's hard to wait when the smell fills the house. Irish stew is said to have been invented by Irish shepherds... to cope with the long winter days. A simple recipe but so tasty that it has since conquered an entire country."
Cotter Organic Lamb
AWARD-WINNING LIMERICK LAMB
OUR SUSTAINABLE PACKAGING
We've reduced our carbon emissions by switching from unsustainable polystyrene, to natural Sheep Wool to keep our lamb boxes cool during transport. Wool is one of the most sustainable natural materials.
It is totally compostable and biodegradable, releasing valuable nitrates back into the soil. It is also a superior insulator.
So once you receive your lamb you can reuse the wool - ideas include as fertilizer for your garden, as a base for hanging baskets, to stuff a pet bed. or even to protect pipes from freezing temperatures.
100% GRASS FED RACK OF LAMB
The Irish Food Awards 2021
our organic lamb
QUALITY LAMB OF THE REGION, FOR THE REGION
100% Grass Fed
We raise our lambs as nature intended - eating the grass that grows on the farm. We do not feed our lambs any grains or cereals; this gives it its incredible nautral flavour and makes it the most sustainable, health promoting and ethically produced meat you can buy. Compared to grain-fed, grass-fed meat is lower in saturated fat, and higher in vitamins A and E, and omega-3 fatty acids that are important to human nutrition.
We have a large amount of woodland and habitat on our farm which offsets all of our carbon emissions making Cotter Organic Lamb carbon neutral, and a great choice for the environmentally conscious.
All our lambs are raised on our organic farm which is organic since 2014, and is certified by the Organic Trust. Organic farming in Ireland is regulated by standards requiring the highest level of respect for the environment and animal welfare. We use no harmful herbicides or pesticides, no GM feed or growth hormones, no routine use of drugs or antibiotics and we employ methods to minimize stress during transport.
In 2019, our lamb was awarded one of the highest honours in the Irish Food & Drinks industry, winning an Irish Quality Food Award at the 2019 Award ceremony. Our 100% grass fed Rack Of Lamb also won a silver award at the 2021 Blas Na hEireann Awards.
THE COTTER BROTHERS
Jack and Nick are the Cotter Brothers. The boys have been entrepreneurs from a young age, setting up their first business Cotter Bros Firewood aged 13 and 11. Since then, the brothers have turned their attention to the Organic Sheep Farm they grew up on.
The brothers set up Cotter Organic Lamb to sell the organic lamb produced on the farm in Abbeyfeale direct to homeowners and restaurants.
"A lot of people are looking to buy meat that is produced in an environmentally sustainable way; 100% grass-fed; organic, and raised on a farm rich in biodiversity and wildlife. Cotter Organic Lamb is addressing this demand by allowing homeowners to support farms that are using methods that are positive for the environment and society. These methods are high welfare, kind to the environment, and use antibiotics and anthelmintics responsibility, thus preserving these very important drugs for the humans and animals that need them".
Jack and Nick also founded Cotter Agritech which is a business focused on delivering technology solutions to reduce chemical use in agriculture. They have developed the SmartWorm targeted treatment decision support tool. This smartphone app enables farmers to move from monthly treatment of all lambs to targeted treatment, dosing only the animals that need it. SmartWorm eliminates overuse of these drugs by providing individualised, real-time predictions on the need for parasite treatment. Trials conducted in Ireland, the UK and New Zealand have shown 40-50% reductions in drug use vs. blanket treatment without compromising productivity or welfare.
The business also sells the Automed smart dosing gun. Current practice when treating sheep is to set the dose volume to the heaviest animal to avoid underdosing. The Automed gun calibrates the dose based on the animal's weight, ensuring every animal gets the right amount. This reduces drug use by up to 20%. The brothers actively use both technologies to produce low chemical input, 100% grass fed, organic lamb.