It is a little known fact that Offaly is home to a very unique farm, and it may well be the only one in the country growing fresh catnip.
Fred's Catnip Farm is based on various lands around Offaly and is registered with an address in Portarlington. The farm is run by Aideen and Simon Day, and is named after their beloved cat, Fred.
Catnip is a herb that stimulates around 80% of cats and provokes more intense play in them. It is in nearly every petshop in the country but Fred's Catnip Farm is on a mission to make Offaly a centre for catnip production.
Cats love it and every one will have their own individual reaction. It can make a cat playful, prompting them to roll or pretend hunt in the catnip, or it can make them completely relaxed. Fred's sell toys and products made from catnip aimed at owners who take particular care of their feline friends.
The reactions from the cats are all due to the Nepetalactone contained in the leaves and flowers of the plant and the strength and freshness of the Nepetalactone is key to your cat’s reaction to it.
Fred's Catnip Farm is the only commercial catnip farm in Ireland, and they are rare, even in the UK. Currently, all the catnip in Ireland is imported from North America or China, and includes the stalks of the plant.
Fred's products contain just the leaves and flowers which means it takes longer to process but is more potent and effective once it comes to harvest. "We have planted all of our own seeds and propagated them in a polytunnel in our garden and then planted them in various locations around Offaly as we don't own any land, including behind the local pub," Aideen explained to the Offaly Express.
Aideen and Simon are now in the process of harvesting the 2017 crop as they continue their plans to make Offaly a hub for catnip production.
You can get more information about Fred's Catnip Farm by searching for it on Facebook or by visiting their website at www.fredscatnipfarm.com.
You can also visit the people and perhaps some of the cats behind this unique farm at this year's Ploughing Championships in Tullamore in September.
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