Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Proposal for Funding 30/11/2011

Today we submitted our funding proposal to Bord Bia and the Department of Agriculture. We have been receiving a small annual grant from the Department of Agriculture, which has in the past, gone towards PR training, and computer training for members. If we are successful in getting this funding, we will use it for marketing, promotion and development.

Media Update 30/11/2011

Country Markets will feature in the December/January issue of Easy Food magazine.

This will be the third consecutive issue we have been in, and it has been a great boost to members.

We have also been in contact with ‘Smallholder’, the national UK monthly magazine. There is a substantial readership for the magazine here, which caters for the small farmer, allotment holder and gardener. The editor, has agreed to feature Country Markets, and we will submit an article in the Spring. They are currently working on the February issue.

Stradbally branch, and the group who did us proud at Electric Picnic in September  
will also be featured in Country Living Magazine (magazine with Farmers Journal) nearer Christmas. They took one of the five Bridgestone awards given out at the festival this year. The Best On Your Doorstep Award was awarded for best use of local produce.

The Bakers Den, a facebook page set up by one of our members, sharing recipies, tips and ideas.

This contemplative blog was also set up by one of our members.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Dublin’s Lord Mayor visits Raheny Branch 22/11/2011

Dublin’s Lord Mayor Andrew Montague visited Raheny Country Market on Friday. It was a great occasion, lots of people turned out to meet him. In his speech the Lord Mayor talked about his interest in markets, and the re-development of the Victorian Fruit and Vegetable Market in Dublin. The Queen was brought to The English Market when she visited Cork earlier this year and he feels Dublin should have its equal. The plan is to refurbish the market which is occupied by a small number of wholesale fruit, vegetable and flower sellers, and to provide 40,000sq ft for food retailers.

Country Markets are seeking to establish more markets in and around Dublin. I will be meeting the Lord Mayor in the new year.
Some Raheny Craft

Christmas Decorations

The Good Food Ireland Conference and Awards 25/11/2011

Good Food Ireland is a network of people who are committed to high ethical standards and local Irish food. They form a network of producers that make, sell, and serve good food and quality accommodation. Their Guide and Touring map includes over 150 independently run B+B’s, cafes, restaurants, and pubs. A number of preferred business partners work closely with Good Food Ireland include The Irish Times, Newstalk 106, Hugo Arnold (food journalist), The School of Restaurant and Kitchen Management, and Barry Packaging.

Margaret Jeffares, founder of Good Food Ireland invited me to attend their conference, as she expressed an interest in Country Markets Ltd coming under their brand.

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Leo Varadkar TD officially opened the conference. He spoke of the need to promote high quality food both domestically and internationally. Irish people traveling within Ireland are also tourists,many wanting to taste regional foods take part in Food Trails or workshops.

I spoke to Helen Gee, a former member of Country Markets. Helen now runs G’s Gourmet Jams which are made on the family farm in Abbeyleix, Co Laois, where the bulk of fruit is grown. She is delighted that sales for their jam have risen 4% this year, attributing this to people returning to homemade produce and homemade taste.

There were 10-12 producer members there who provided a wonderful lunch for us. Trout pate, oak-smoked salmon, yogurts, cheeses, black pudding, sausages, breads, potato bread, oatcakes,relishes,smoked chicken, spiced beef, terrines.....beautiful food by people wanting to promote their best.

Mairead Lavery, Editor of Country Living magazine chaired the conference. I spoke to her about the growing interest in Country Markets and our value in the community. Mairead would like to do an article on us in her magazine in 2012.

At the Awards ceremony later that evening, Taoiseach Enda Kenny made the presentations to the winners. The atmosphere was one of excitement , anticipation, and a genuine warmth between the members who were supportive of each other.

I will be talking later to Margaret Jeffares to establish what the criteria for becoming a member are.
Helen Gee

Mairead Lavery

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Bank of Ireland Enterprise week 18-25/11/2011

Some of our branches were involved in this earlier in the year and it is running again. Why not showcase your market at your local branch of Bank of Ireland?

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Management Meeting


The final meeting of the year took place on Monday last. We are delighted to welcome a full time Regional Representative, Kathleen Dempsey, Carraigaline branch market. A number of markets in Co Cork and a branch in Co Kerry.were not adequately supported for a long time, as no nominations were being put forward from the region .Earlier this Summer, Emer Duffy, our previous Chairman undertook to support them short term and I thank her for that.

A Frequently Asked Questions page is to be added to our website. We deal with a lot of the same queries by phone or e mail, now this information will also be available online.

We have contacted the four councils in Dublin in an effort to get more markets established in the region. Allotment growing has become popular over the past few years, and there has been an encouraging response from these enquiries. Later this month I will be meeting the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Andrew Montague who has a keen interest in reviving the traditional market.

The proposal for funding awaits two more costings , and is ready for submission to Bord Bia and the Department of Agriculture.

There are three of our branches featured in the current edition of Easy Food magazine, and a new producer profile on the website.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Dungarvan Country Market


Leaving Waterford I headed for Dungarvan Country Markets, held weekly in the Causeway Tennis Club.

The sun was shining and the tennis courts were in use as children were still on Halloween holidays.

The market recently had a make over,during which the neighbouring supermarket offered space, which allowed normal Friday morning trading to continue.

New members have joined in the last couple of months and are being made very welcome. Existing members have held back on some of their production to give a chance to the younger members. A perfect example of cooperation, and everyone is happy.

There were handmade cards,an extensive range of baking including a gluten free range, vegetables, eggs and preserves.

Visit to Waterford Country Market


I decided to make the most of my trip to the South-East and visit some of our branch markets based there.

Waterford Country Market takes place every Friday morning in St Olaf’s Hall, Waterford City. They had two new members who started that morning, and another new member who started the previous week.There were vegetables both whole and prepared, plants, baking, preserves and local honey.

Christmas logs,and arrangements, along with packs of Christmas cards, beautiful hand stitched wreaths and stockings added to the great variety.

Meeting in New Ross, Co Wexford

On Thursday evening I met the prospective members of New Ross Country Market.
They hope to hold their market in the Rugby Club, and start in the next week or so.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

New Market Opening

I’m delighted to announce the opening of another new market. New Ross Country Market will start out in the next fortnight. I will be visiting the group tomorrow evening to finalise details.

Halloween Recipes and Craft

The website included two recipes and a craft item with detailed instructions on how to make each. The recipes, a savoury dish of pumpkin tortilla with garlic aeoli, sent in by Ravensdale branch, the sweet recipe was for a Halloween brack, sent in by Skibbereen branch market. And the craft item- a scary spider submitted by Granard branch. Thank you to all markets for helping to keep the website fresh and up to date.

Ballynacargy Country Market

The market made a brief appearence on Waterways on Sunday evening 30/10/2011 The programme can be seen for another fortnight on the RTE player.

NDC Women and Agriculture Conference

Two of our members, Josephine Lynch from Portumna and Fiona McCorry from Portlaoise represented Country Markets at the recent conference held in Kilkenny. It was attended by at least 700 women. Speakers included Aidan Cotter Bord Bia, Simon Coveney Minister of Agriculture, Margaret Jeffares Good Food Ireland and Valerie Kingston, dairy farmer and founder of Glenilen Foods in Dunmanway.
One of the topics covered was farming, food and tourism with Margaret Jeffares, whom I have heard speak previously. She is a great advocate of Food Trails and I feel that it is an area we could get involved in. Thomastown Country Market took part in such a trail at the recent Savour Kilkenny event when a bus tour stopped off at participating venues around the county.

Country Markets flyers were left on every seat, the opportunity to spread the word was too good to miss.

Country Markets feature in Easy Food

Three of our markets will be in the December issue of Easy Food magazine. Achill, Fethard-on-Sea and Kilternan branch markets will be part of a half page feature giving details of their Christmas markets and the wonderful range of crafts and food available.

Proposal for Funding

Over the last three weeks a working group from the Board of Management have been drafting a proposal for funding for 2012. It is intended to submit this proposal to Bord Bia and the Department of Agriculture to assist us in promotion and marketing.

The draft is included for final discussion on the agenda at the next management meeting on 07/11/2011.