Thousands of farmers are harvesting their crops of barely, wheat and oats throughout the country before the weather turns for the autumn.

However, in Kerry a very different harvest is under way at the county's first snail farm.

Tomas Griciunas came to Kerry from Lithuania 22 years ago and met local landowner Vincent Scott.

Both worked in the hotels sector. But last January they took a leap of faith and bought 20,000 breeder snails to establish a snail farm, Kerry Escargot, on Mr Scott’s lands at Firies in mid-Kerry.

Today, they are preparing to harvest the first of their 750,000 adult snails for export to restaurants all over Europe.

The snails bred in January and February, and spent the subsequent months maturing and fattening on pallets spread among lush greenery on Mr Scott's land.

Nets and corrugated iron sheets protect them from predators, and they have thrived in the fresh Kerry air.

Mr Griciunas and Mr Scott expect a harvest of between six and seven tonnes.

Some will be kept for breeding for next year while others will be processed and prepared for restaurant tables.

Snails from the farm will be exported to Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece and Poland in the coming weeks.

Creating a market to serve the snails in Irish restaurants is a little bit of a delicate issue, but they are open to offers.