|Marian Condren, Ella McSweeney RTE|
|Teresa Fingleton, Sean O'Rourke RTE, Marian Condren|
I spent Friday evening and Saturday at the Country Market in the Minefield area which included the Theatre of Food where lots of demonstrations and talks on food took place.
Fortune favours the bold they say, Stradbally members were fearless heading into this territory and its scale of catering. I was very impressed with the variety they offered. Breakfasts included porridge, homemade muesli (both with gluten free options) served with local honey, apple juice pressed from the estate orchards, deluxe breakfast bars, homegrown apples and plums. There were breads/scones/cakes suitable for diabetics and gluten free lovers, sausage rolls and scotch eggs.
Great vegetable soups for lunch served with generous amounts of bread, salads of every sort were served throughout the day along with sweet treats.
The Portlaoise members Mary, Abby and Maria put on an equally impressive display. While knitting at the stand Mary got an order for a pair of booties to match a baby's jacket. The couple were buying for their friend's baby who was been born at that moment, Mary happily obliged and half an hour later booties were ready, not sure about baby!
Abby's jewellery made for a wonderful display, colourful, well priced with something for every pocket/purse.All purchases were attractively packaged. Jewellery has become a very popular addition to many of our markets.
Maria who does handmade chocolates and excellent hot chocolate was impossible to pass. The selection was impressive and the handmade chocolates were beautifully packaged in gold boxes.
Graiguecullen member Paula Sheridan brought her handcrafted, personalised candles.The candles designed for all occasions are presented with a pesonalised card in an elegant box.
There was a huge media presence which worked well for us. On Sunday the wonderful news that Country Markets had won a Bridgestone Award was the icing on the cake. I want to thank everyone who put so much work and many many hours into putting us on a new stage.