Anne Marie Feighery is one of Ireland’s only Beetroot Juice producers, using the beetroot grown and nurtured on her home farm just outside Kilcormac, County Offaly. In 2019, Anne Marie noticed a gap in the market for beetroot juice and in a short space of time she has developed her idea into a fully operational business with a product on the shelves. The beetroot is grown on the Feighery farm, where it is harvested with no pesticides, washed and graded. It is then transported to The Apple Farm in Tipperary, which is owned by Con Traas. Con’s apples are added to the beetroot, where it is pressed and bottled on sight in the apple farm.
Where is started
Anne Marie’s father Billy and her two brothers work full time as vegetable and tillage farmers in County Offaly; “its great comfort in knowing they know exactly what they are doing, because they have been at it for years.” It was her health-conscious father, Billy who alerted her to the health benefits of beetroot juice. As a very active and healthy man “at the age of 80, he is always reading books on healthy eating”. Anne Marie went to look for a bottle of beetroot juice in the shops, “I couldn’t find an Irish one, and I immediately saw a niche”. The business grew quickly when she went into it full-time; “I always wanted my own business, I took a gamble and two years later I have no regrets”.
Teagasc, ACORNS and Supervalu
When Anne Marie first met with Eddie O Neill, an artisan food specialist from Teagasc, his first words were “are you mad?” but by the end of the meeting he said, “there might be something in this”. With an Innovation Voucher from Enterprise Ireland (an Innovation Voucher gives you €5,000 worth of time with an expert, third-level researcher to help you tease out an idea, develop a new product, or crack an important business or technical challenge), she began to develop the plan and grow the beetroot immediately. She then applied for the SuperValu Food Academy where she completed workshops with Musgraves. The Beetroot Juice was then placed in six Supervalu stores near her home base in Offaly; “That was a really great boost in confidence for me. Then I started winning various awards, including a ‘Taste Award’, and when I started receiving comments from people saying it really benefitted their health, that gave me such a boost”. She then went on to do ACORNS (The ACORNS programme has been designed to support early-stage female entrepreneurs living in rural Ireland and runs over six months part-time) – “I highly recommend ACORNS for women in business starting out. It’s been a huge help and the opportunities off the back of it are really strong”.
Feighery’s Beetroot Juice, Pressed and Bottles in the Apple Farm
“The beetroot is transported from the farm in Kilcormac where it has been harvested with no pesticides, washed and graded to The Apple Farm in Tipperary”. The Juice is made up of 30% apples from Con Traas’ Apple farm, blended with 70% homegrown pesticide beetroot, where it is pasteurised in the bottle. It has a shelf life of eighteen months. “There is nothing added. No sugar, only the two natural Irish ingredients. After that it is boxed, put on palets and brought back to Offaly. We have two storage areas, one in Offaly and one Tipperary for the different distributors servicing Ireland”.
Health benefits of Beetroot Juice
According to Anne Marie, ‘Feighery’s Beetrrot Juice’ is a blood builder. “For the Blood pressure aspect it has huge benefits. Because beetroot is loaded with naturally occurring nitrates and nitrates convert nitric oxide in your body, it causes blood vessels to widen and increases blood flow. This not only helps reduce the risk of heart disease but basically it increases your stamina and blood flow. This means more oxygenated blood for working muscles, energising your body and pushes out the time for exhaustion. It is equally good for recovery“. As a result ahletes, especially marathon runners use it – “The newest of our products, the ‘Beet Bullet shots’ are very popular, as it is concentrated. Because beetroot is a plant based protein, it is high in iron and Vitamin C. It’s health benefits have proven it to be good for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and people recovering from illness. It is certainly an Irish superfood and it is growing in Kilcormac, County Offaly. For more, see Feighery’s Farm.