Irish Acres Farm is hosting its Annual Quilt Walk & Art Festival from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, May 11.
Irish Acres is located on U.S. Highway 45 three miles south of New London.
Irish Acres has been owned by the Mulroy family since the farm was settled in 1848. It is currently owned and operated by David and Jane Mulroy.
They raise hay, corn, and organic apples and other fruits and vegetables. The Mulroys plan to turn the farm into a farming coop with independent businesses.
“Out of every food dollar spent at the grocery store, less than five percent goes to the farmer,” Jane Mulroy said. “We will sell fresh, local food directly to the consumer and the producer will keep more of the dollar.”
The Mulroys have a licensed processing kitchen so they can make and sell value added crops by creating jams and jellies from their own berries.
By the spring of 2014, Irish Acres will have a new greenhouse and a farm market.
“We are an operating farm already,” Mulroy said. “We are just going to change gears a bit and have the people come to the food.”
“Our ultimate goal is to make it a working farm where people can work for their food,” she said. “We have the room and skills to teach them how to get back in touch with nature.”
The Mulroys are doing what they can to stop “the insanity of shipping food an average of 1,500 miles.” They support getting food sales back to the way it used to be – fresh, local and nutrional.
Everything at Irish Acres is grown biodynamic, which is organic in its purest most natural form, according to Jane Mulroy.
They make their own fertilizers and pest repellents, and plant according to the moon and other forces of nature.
Using only organic products, Mulroy said 85 percent of their apples will be bug free. Another 10 percent of the crop will be second grade (still eatable), and five percent will be damaged and bruised (used for cider).
“Our number one concern is nutrition and quality,” she said. “Taste is the reason we use heirloom varieties.”
Commercial growers sell by appearance of a fruit, often losing the flavor. The fruit and vegetables are picked green so they ship better and look nice at the grocery store.
“But if it doesn’t taste good, and you can’t change that,” Mulroy said. “We grow every plant by its own natural rhythm and by its own nature force. We don’t manipulate anything.”
“I’m terrified of the Pandora’s box when they genetically change the entire plant from the inside out. It’s really scary,” she said. “It’s a living plant, not just a commodity. Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should.”
Irish Acres is all about letting nature do what it does best. There is little waste on the farm with composting of everything and rainwater collected for all the watering.
“It’s all about choice: How much do you adapt the scientific and how much do you honor the traditional?” Mulroy said. “We offer people a choice.”
Quilt Walk, Art Festival
On Saturday, May 11, there will be over 40 colorful handmade quilts displayed in a century-old restored barn.
Visitors can see the organic orchard and other gardens, or taste the treats offered by Amanda Cupcake in the Cupcake Mansion.
Artisans – painters, quilters, weavers, spinners, bakers, etc. – will be demonstrating their crafts, telling stories and selling handmade pieces.
There will be live music from assorted artists from 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
“Rakes of Mallow” will perform Irish traditional songs and ballads from 1-4 p.m.
Tickets are available at the New London Area Chamber of Commerce office at 420 N. Shawano St., New London, or by calling 920-982-5822.
Adult advance tickets are $12 if purchased through May 8. This price includes one complimentary cupcake from Amanda Cupcake.
Admission is free for ages 11 and under, but does not include a cupcake.
Standard adult tickets are $15 from May 9-11.
One of Mulroy’s passions is helping others. Her more recent venture involved accommodating Amanda Cupcake.
“I find a business and give them an upstart. I like to have people create and make a go of it,” Mulroy said.
“I built a commercial kitchen and turned the keys over to Amanda. Now I am just her landlord and her biggest supporter.”