Carlow Snail Farm Looking Into New Opportunities As Demand Grows
A Carlow-based snail farm is looking to expand its business as demand for the product grows, according to the Irish Times.
Eva Milka, the owner of Gaelic Escargot in Garyhill, said that in Ireland, chefs are becoming “more open-minded” about snails. The company itself is looking at expanding and exploring new opportunities, such as snail caviar.
Milka said that snail caviar can be worth up to €85 per 50-gram jar. A jar that size could contain 300 eggs, with a single snail capable of laying between 80 and 250 eggs at a time.
Milka said that an additional acre of snails could be worth €200,000 a year if sold to the food service sector, while sales to the wholesale market could get about €40,000.
“The beauty of snail farming is that it doesn’t require much investment,” she said. “An acre of land can produce just one cow but the same acre can produce about 10 tonnes of snails,” she said.
The farm, that was established in 2013, has reached maximum capacity, she said, producing up to ten tonnes of snail a year. Most of the produce from the farm is sent to French, Italian and Spanish markets.
Exports to these markets are all unprocessed, but she revealed that her farm has caught the attention of countries like Dubai and Singapore, but they are looking for something a little different.
“We were also approached by Dubai and Singapore but they didn’t want fresh snails, they wanted something pre-cooked. So we’re nearly finished developing snails in jars with brine,” Ms Milka said.
The company distributes snails through La Rousse foods, which last December was acquired by Musgrave from Aryzta for an undisclosed sum.
© 2018 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Aidan O’Sullivan. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.