The Menu: Permanent farmers’ markets

The Menu has spent the last decade bending the ears of any with pockets of sufficient depth and the business nous necessary for creating and maintaining such aforementioned fiscal fortitude about the viability of a ‘permanent’ farmer’s market, believing it to be a marvelous business opportunity with equally positive social implications for the community.

The Menu: Permanent farmers’ markets

The Siopa Gan Ainm, on Cork’s Coal Quay, alongside the fine Coal Quay Saturday Farmer’s Market, has carried a small range for some time as well as offering hot beverages and small snacks. But a new shop in Waterville, Co Kerry, An Siopa Feirme ( www.facebook.com/AnSiopaFeirme ), is really the type of venture The Menu had envisioned, offering a superb and ever-growing range from local producers.

The commercial suppliers include: Wilma’s Farmhouse Cheese; Valentia Island Farmhouse Dairy; Vegetables, Fruit and Berries, from Roddy Carroll; O’Connell’s Ducks, from Ballinskelligs; Harty’s Foods, jellies and condiments; chocolate and confectionary from Skelligs Chocolate; and from Benoit Lorge.

This fine selection is buttressed by offerings from nearby domestic producers, including jams, chutneys and small crops of local produce, and are an illustration of such an operation’s potential. What’s more, money spent in the community, stays in the community and, according to a study carried out by London’s New Economics Foundation, is four times as beneficial for the community as that spent in the multiples, most especially the foreign-owned multiples.

...OR START YOUR OWN

Anyone considering something similar or even attempting to a launch a weekly temporary farmer’s market would do well to check out a new initiative from the Department of Agriculture — a call for proposals for initiatives to support community-based food and artisan markets using Cedra funding.

With grants up to €10k per annum and a closing date of August 14 for application, more information is available online ( www.agriculture.gov.ie ).

SLOW FOOD SATURDAY

The Menu’s dear friend Louise Clarke of Nude Food in Dungarvan, Co Waterford, along with the Lovely Lucy host a Slow Food Saturday (July 25) in their working garden to the rear of the restaurant with producers including Highbank Orchards, Sea of Vitality, Seagull Bakery and the Sea Gardener ( www.nudefood.ie ).

Follow The Recipe (July 23) at Dublin’s Wood Quay Conference Centre is a food blogging and online marketing event ( www.weteachsocial.com ).

The Boyne Valley Food Series continues with the South American Street Food Festival (July 24), at the Central Bar, in Navan, Co Meath ( www.boynevalleyfoodseries.ie ). Cork’s Cornstore has a new tapas menu for shared snacking or solo slurping ( www.cornstorecork.com ),

The Cliff Townhouse continues its Oyster Happy Hour (Monday to Friday 5pm to 6pm) and chef Sean Smith offers an oyster masterclass (July 22) including six oysters and a glass of bubbly ( www.theclifftownhouse.com ) while The Twelve Hotel’s Big Top pop-up restaurant as part of Galway Arts Festival continues until July 25 ( www.thetwelvehotel.ie ).

SHELLING OUT

The Menu recently stumbled across West Cork Eggs, a free range producer from near Rosscarbery. Exquisitely fresh, a nice strong shell with a firmly structured albumen, it poached wonderfully ( www.facebook.com/westcorkeggs )

BEER OF THE WEEK

9 Hop Kent Pale Ale, 4% ABV; 500ml — €3.59

Stockist: Marks & Spencer

M&S has commissioned a range of craft beers from English craft brewers such as Black Sheep in Yorkshire and St Austell in Cornwell.

This example is made by Westerhouse Brewery in Kent using nine local Kent hops including Goldings, Pilgrim and Sovereign.

Golden in colour, light frothy head, aromas of malt, citrus and a touch of caramel. Crisp on the palate with a refreshing dry-hopped finish.

Besides the fact this is very well made beer, I liked two other things: the excellent use of European hops and the fact that a 4% alcohol by volume makes it a perfect session summer beer.

— Leslie Williams

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