The tours, during the festival taking place in the city from September 3 to 11 next, has allowed local food producers the opportunity to showcase their products and “foodies the opportunity to learn how these local products are made”, according to a festival statement.
The first of the slow food tours take place on September 4, and will visit a prize-winning dairy farm at milking time.
The tour will also visit John Flahavan, at the sixth-generation millers facility’ Flahavan’s Porridge in Kilmacthomas, and to Grace Kiersey vegetable garden near Kilmacthomas in County Waterford .
The second tour departs fromWaterford Crystal on September 7 at 2pm and will visit the unique Bilberry goat herd near Waterford City .
This tour will also visit Flanagan’s Fishmongers to meet John Whittle, the fourth of his generation in the trade, and learn about local specialities including “crubeens, chucks and pigs tails” from butcher Billy Murphy.
The Bilberry Goat Trust Heritage is currently processing cheese from the goats’ milk.
It is said that the breed are unlike any found in Ireland or Britain, and are more likely to be related to Maltese or Cashmere goats. It is believed locally that the goats arrived with the Huguenots, a band of persecuted Protestants who arrived from France more than 300 years ago.
Herd keeper Martin Doyle yesterday said: “We are delighted to now have the herd producing cheese… the herd in particular is of huge historic importance to the city and they are maintained through the Bilberry Goat Trust.
“However, they will be shortly contributing to their own up keep in the future. The cheese hasn’t yet been launched to mass market but it is currently in all of the stages aiming towards a launch in the coming months.
“We have produced and sold two batches; one in South America and one to visitors of the herd,” said Mr Doyle.
“The feedback has been phenomenal and this is the only heritage cheese being produced at the moment so there really is huge scope for the product on the international market.
“We also produce natural soaps which would be used for skin conditions.”
The third tour, on September 8, will visit Dunhill Eco Park to see its community garden and meet the artisan food producers based there, while the final slow food tour’ will leave for the coast on September 9.
* Tickets cost €12 from waterfordharvestfestival.ie