Originally from Dresden in Germany, Tobias Oertel found his spiritual home in East Clare in the early 1990s and has been operating his stall at the Milk Market for 15 years.
“After the fall of the Berlin Wall, I lived in France for a bit and then came to Ireland. I was looking for a way of living that was more connected to nature and the land, a way of going back to a more fundamental lifestyle; I suppose what used to be called an alternative lifestyle.
“I felt at home here from day one. There is a spiritual and cultural feeling to living in this country which I have always felt at home with. I’m here 28 years now, so no regrets,” Tobias, 49, said.
Operating from an upland farm on the shores of Lough Derg in Tuamgraney, near Scariff in East Clare, Tobias still lives a self-sustaining lifestyle, aided by his 19-year-old son, Finian, who helps out on the farm, and on the market stall. The fruits of their labour are enjoyed by customers every Saturday, eleven months of the year at Limerick Milk Market.
Tobias’ produce includes home-grown vegetables, salads, herbs, fruit, and honey. All our produce is grown naturally, without pesticides or any of that stuff. I believe that if we do things naturally, and take care of the earth then we can take care of ourselves. I like to bring that idea to our stall, where we only sell produce that is in season. Our best selling products are the fresh herbs, salads and spinach.”
Depending on the time of year, you’ll find everything from spinach, kale, basil, mint, oregano, dill, and rocket, to parsley, coriander, rosemary, thyme and sage.
Tobias’s tomatoes have a taste you just won’t get from supermarket produce.
“Our natural, organic approach extends to everything. Like our honey, for example. It is proper, pure, raw honey with no sugar syrup or anything added to it. We don’t interfere with our bees at all, so what you get is very special, as pure as can be.”
“We have two orchards so we sell apples and a range of seasonal fruits too.”
“Our company name is Noinin Herbal Products. We have 70 herbal products including tinctures, ointments and creams, massage and bath oils, hand creams and face creams. It’s a full natural body care range. We also sell herbal teas.
“When I came here I was searching for a way of living and a way of making ends meet that was simple and natural and connected to nature and the land, as it was hundreds of years ago. Everything we do goes back to that connection with nature.”
Visit www.noinin.ie for more details.