Cork couple’s cracking egg enterprise goes from strength to strength

What started off with an ‘honesty box’, selling fresh eggs to passers-by in 2018, has been transformed into a major food supply business by Cork couple Michael and Carmen O’Sullivan, reveals CHRIS DUNNE
Cork couple’s cracking egg enterprise goes from strength to strength

Carmen and Michael O’Sullivan of Farmsy.ie

BANDON man Michael O’Sullivan has a nickname among the local kids, as he drives around in his van, delivering his free range fresh farm eggs door-to-door.

“Local kids know Michael as the egg man!” says his wife, Carmen.

Michael took a year’s leave from his job in Cork County Council to concentrate on the eggs and locally produced food delivery service, called Farmsy.ie.

“When we got busier, it was hard to juggle both jobs,” says Carmen.

Egg production flourished among the happy hens at the couple’s country cottage, which is two miles from Timoleague, as they enjoyed the freedom of the lush, green fields of the farm.

“It had become much more than a hobby for Michael since selling his own eggs part-time last year,” adds Carmen.

“People became really interested in home delivery of fresh farm eggs. Michael gets great satisfaction selling his farm produce door-to-door.

“He really enjoys delivering our eggs and other locally sourced fresh goods to people’s homes, especially those that can’t go out shopping or who are in a bind, being at home all day with children,” says Carmen.

Michael, bearing home-produced gifts, always gets a welcome on the mat.

“Everybody enjoys inter-acting with him and having the chat when he’s doing home deliveries,” says Carmen. 

“They are all friends now! Michael is very social and he loves that side of it.”

So, instead of looking out for the musical ice-cream van, the kids are looking out for Michael the egg man driving around to his customers, selling fresh farm produce?

“That’s right,” says Carmen, who helps Michael rear their productive fowl at the family cottage.

Having cracked the egg delivery market, the couple set up Farmsy.ie, a delivery service which goes door-to-door in Cork city and county with some of the best fresh food produced in the county.

“During the first lockdown in March, our customers began to ask about other products,” explains Carmen.

“So we began to seek out other local and chemical-free produce to supply and deliver alongside our eggs.

“At the start of the year, we wouldn’t have foreseen ourselves setting up Farmsy.ie, but when our customers kept asking about other products, we listened and thought about it.”

Then Farmsy.ie was hatched.

Michael and Carmen had three employees on the production line at the start.

“We began selling eggs from an honesty box in 2018,” recalls Carmen. 

“We had just three hens and a cockerel.”

Henrietta, Mrs Brown, Mags, and Willy, stress-free, happy and content, roaming the farm, laid richly yoked eggs with firm clear whites every day.

“We are in a popular walking ring where we live and passers-by used to bring a bag with them and buy a dozen eggs.”

News of the great-tasting eggs travelled quickly around the local area and soon the couple were being inundated with requests.

They added to their brood.

“We added a few more hens and ducks to the clutch and then Michael started the egg run,” says Carmen.

FREE RANGE: The farm owned by Michael O’Sullivan and his wife, Carmel, who run Farmsy.ie, a few miles outside Timoleague
FREE RANGE: The farm owned by Michael O’Sullivan and his wife, Carmel, who run Farmsy.ie, a few miles outside Timoleague

Michael’s nickname was born...

What else does he deliver in his van?

“We have the free range eggs, meat, bread, vegetable boxes, fresh salads and coffee,” says Carmen.

“We are supplied and supported by other Cork food producers like Food for Humans, Horizon Farm Kinsale, West Cork Coffee and Twomey Farms Ballinhassig.”

The O’Sullivans offer a mixed bag of goods for sale.

“It is a real pick n’ mix!” says Carmen, who previously worked as a website consultant in London.

“We offer custom boxes of goods to people that they need and put them on our website so that they can order them for delivery.

“Fresh baked bread, organic meat, cream, herbs, vegetables and coffee are all sought-after goods, especially during lockdown.

“Our chemical-free vegetable boxes are very popular.”

Carmen knows that fresh vegetables are always a welcome addition to any table.

“I used to order vegetable boxes for delivery when I lived in London,” she says.

“I always got a lovely surprise opening up the box!”

Michael and Carmen run the home delivery business between them.

“I look after the website and the business administration, as well as preparing the custom food boxes, and Michael does the delivering in Bandon, Kinsale, Carrigaline, Crosshaven, Cork city and Blarney.”

The couple are enjoying the mix of producing fresh farm eggs and fresh farm produce, delivered from the fields to the van to the front door of customers, and on to the table.

Carmen’s parents were in the home delivery services too.

“My dad was a milkman and my mother delivered bread,” she says.

They grew fruit and vegetables too.

“We lived across the road from Garettstown house and we supplied the goods to sell to the tourists that visited the house.”

Michael and Carmen are thrilled with the support they are getting from their loyal customers and from other Cork food producers.

It works both ways.

“So many artisan food producers were badly hit this year,” says Carmen.

“We see our service as supporting them, something we are really passionate about.”

A typical week begins on Monday when the O’Sullivan’s suppliers let them know what fresh produce is available for the coming week.

Farmsy.ie website is updated to take orders from 6pm on a Monday evening.

Orders can be placed up until 8am on a Wednesday morning, when Michael and Carmen get busy harvesting, preparing and organising the orders to be delivered to the door that week.

Farmsy.ie is gathering legs.

“Henrietta, Mrs Brown, Mags and Willy lived their lives out,” says Carmen.

The hard-working fowl are spreading their wings in the sky.

“They are!” says Carmen.

“We now have 50 to 60 hens and ducks, silky hens as well.”

It has never been easier for us to find amazing, locally produced food and now we can have it delivered right to our front door.

Just look out for the ‘egg man’!

See farmsy.ie. Minimum value order is €25.

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