Tuesday, 12 July 2011

The Producers: For Food’s Sake I

At the first For Food’s Sake event in The Sugar Club, which was held on 31 March, it wasn’t just all food for thought.  Four Irish producers helped make the first night a very delicious one indeed.

The event’s theme was “The Great Green Hope - where lies the future for Irish production?”.  The speakers helped to whet our minds’ appetites while the producers listed below are certainly among those helping to give culinary hope to this nation’s food future.  

Kelly’s Organic Products: Moon Shine Dairy Farm
Mary and Gerry Kelly from Moonshine Organic (http://www.kellysorganic.com) were on hand to let us sample some of their delicious dairy products, as well as sharing a touching poem written by one of their Moos. Well, ghost-written via Mary, of course.  
Located just outside Mullingar, the Kelly’s have been keeping their Moos happy and producing their organic dairy products since 2000. The name Moonshine refers to fact that their farm’s work schedule work in parallel to the moon’s cycles, which they believe benefits their products in taste, shelf-life and texture.  

You can read more on their website, where you’ll also find further details on their products as well as contact information. If you’re Dublin-based you’ll find them in The Dublin Food Co-op every Saturday. 

Connemara Smokehouse
Connemara Smokehouse has been the Roberts’ family business since 1979. Graham Roberts was one of the speakers at FFS I and gave us an insight into how he and his wife Saoirse manage their business. It’s one of the oldest smokehouses remaining in the west of Ireland, yet they’ve bridged the gap between the old and new by embracing digital media to spread the message of their outstanding smoked fish.

Have a look at their website (http://www.smokehouse.ie) to find out more about their products and browse through their on-line shop. You can also say hello to them on Twitter (@OldSmoky).

Janet’s Country Fayre
Janet Drew’s range of jams, chutneys, salsas, pestos and basically anything that’s fit to be jarred, are one of the best success stories of artisan food production in the country. You’re bound to have come across at least one of her products along your food travels in Ireland but if not, head to http://www.janetscountryfayre.com for more info on where you can get your hands on a jar of at least one of her delicious products. At FFS I, a number of Janet’s jars’ lids were popped open for the audience to enjoy.  

Janet was a bit of a trail-blazer when it came to artisan food production in Ireland, starting her company back in 1994. Her commitment to her food vision has seen her Wicklow-based company grow to produce 18 different sauces, chutneys and jams, including her most well-known Sweet Pepper Relish which tastes good slathered on pretty much anything.   

Le Levain Bakery
The bread at FFS I was provided by Dublin-based Le Levain Bakery, who produce their bread using naturally-fermented dough. In French, this bread is called ‘levain’ but you may be more familiar with its English name: sourdough. Rossa, the head baker, followed his passion for bread all the way to three French bakeries where he learnt his craft. He’s brought his skills back to Ireland and you can sample them at Le Levain Bakery stall in the Temple Bar Food Market on Saturdays, as well as in Dublin’s Lilliput Stores in Stoneybatter.  


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