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Farm focus showcases role of smaller food producers

Farm–based food and drink producers in Northern Ireland are part of a UK–wide initiative to strengthen links with consumers and to increase awareness of locally sourced product.

Most of the producers taking part in Open Farm Weekend on 17–18 June are involved in food and drink enterprises. The popular event, launched in 2012, and now sponsored by Bank of Ireland in Northern Ireland, attracts thousands of local people to farms across the region in what has become an outstanding celebration of farming and the food industry.

It aims to help the public, particularly those from a non–farming background, better understand how food is produced and to raise awareness of the importance of the local supply chain. The initiative reconnects the public with the countryside and the local farming community which is responsible for producing the food and also preserving the local environment.

Taking part this year are several farm enterprises which have won national awards for products with outstanding quality and great taste. They include cider producers Armagh Apple Farm in Portadown, county Armagh, where a range of Armagh Cider products are processed from local apples including Bramley apples, which has EU Protected Name Status, and Long Meadow in Loughgall, also county Armagh and a leading supplier of ciders to Great Britain and Ireland. Both producers have won a string of national awards including from competitions such as Blas na hEireann and UK Great Taste.

Hillstown Farm, based at Ahoghill in county Antrim, is a specialist in dry–aged meats and is Northern Ireland’s only producer of Wagyu–style beef. The farm, in addition, has a range of craft ales and beers which are sold throughout Northern Ireland. It has won Uk Great Taste awards for its ales.

Another specialist beef producer, Castlecreen Farm, near Downpatrick in county Down, has won acclaim for its distinctive Dexter beef.

Northern Ireland’s award–winning turkey producer, Buchanan’s, based at Upperlands in county Derry, is also taking part and will be showing other specialist meats including dry–cured bacon. The farm has a small Himalayan salt chamber for ageing beef. The farm has won UK Great Taste Awards for its Bronze, free–range turkeys.

Visitors to Acton Farm, near Poyntzpass in county Down, will be also to see a range of animals as well as the oats it grows from White’s, Northern Ireland’s oat miller. And they will also be able to enjoy Tickety Moo dairy cream from a Jersey herd near Killadeas in county Fermanagh.

The historic contribution of potatoes to the local diet will be exhibited on Jamison’s Farm, which is located at Ballycastle in county Antrim.

Each farm event throughout the UK is unique and is organised primarily by the host farmer. Visitors to the farm will have a free VIP pass to see the exact processes involved and the care and dedication that goes into food production while hopefully gaining an understanding of how important local farming is for everyone’s future. Visitors will have the opportunity to meet the farmer and, on certain farms, be able to taste and buy the food, highlighting the importance of supporting your community by buying local. To date, over 70,000 people, including primary school pupils as part of an extensive Schools Programme, have visited a variety of farms across the region.

Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend is being delivered by Ulster Farmers’ Union and is sponsored by Bank of Ireland UK and supported by The Prince’s Countryside Fund; NFU Mutual, Asda and Tesco. The weekend would also not be possible without the help and resources of Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster, CAFRE, the Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association and Food NI.

Picture: Long Meadow Farm Cider in Armagh is taking part in Open Farm Weekend.

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Business Development Executive, ROI

Jen Guiney
Business Development Executive, ROI

+44 (0) 28 3839 0142

+44 (0)79 8511 1024

jen.guiney@investni.com

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Geoff Spence
Business Development Manager

+44 (0) 28 9069 8476

+44 (0) 7985 111006

geoff.spence@investni.com

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Karl Devlin
Head of Business Development

+44 (0) 28 9069 8225

+44 (0) 77 6739 3316

karl.devlin@investni.com

RoI & GB Foodservice

Drew McIvor
Head of Business Development

+44 (0) 78 1354 4535

drew.mcivor@investni.com

Great Britain

Michelle Charrington
Head of Business Development

+44 (0)78 1717 3514

+44 (0) 78 1717 3514

michelle.charrington@investni.com

Content Manager

Shauna Magill
Editor & Content Manager / Twitter @lovenifood

+44 (0) 28 9069 8764

+44 (0) 78 2516 9125

shauna.magill@investni.com

Business Development Executive, ROI

Jen Guiney
Business Development Executive, ROI

Tel: +44 (0) 28 3839 0142

Mobile: +44 (0)79 8511 1024

E-Mail: jen.guiney@investni.com

Business Development Manager

Geoff Spence
Business Development Manager

Tel: +44 (0) 28 9069 8476

Mobile: +44 (0) 7985 111006

E-Mail: geoff.spence@investni.com

Middle East & Asia

Karl Devlin
Head of Business Development

Tel: +44 (0) 28 9069 8225

Mobile: +44 (0) 77 6739 3316

E-Mail: karl.devlin@investni.com

RoI & GB Foodservice

Drew McIvor
Head of Business Development

Tel: +44 (0) 78 1354 4535

E-Mail: drew.mcivor@investni.com

Great Britain

Michelle Charrington
Head of Business Development

Tel: +44 (0)78 1717 3514

Mobile: +44 (0) 78 1717 3514

E-Mail: michelle.charrington@investni.com

Content Manager

Shauna Magill
Editor & Content Manager / Twitter @lovenifood

Tel: +44 (0) 28 9069 8764

Mobile: +44 (0) 78 2516 9125

E-Mail: shauna.magill@investni.com

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