LOCAL food was on the menu yesterday (Tuesday) at a Farmhouse Breakfast in Greenmount.
The agri-food industry sat down to breakfast together to support the HGCA’s Farmhouse Breakfast Week (20th – 26th January 2013) which encourages people to make time for breakfast and to take advantage of excellent home grown ingredients.
The breakfast is a collaborative venture supported by HGCA, DARD, UFU and FoodNI with all ingredients provided by local suppliers. CAFRE students provided floral and food displays celebrating the best of local ingredients.
Opening the event UFU seeds and cereals chairman and FoodNI chairman John Best said: “This event is set up to encourage our guests to get into the healthy breakfast habit and to enjoy and celebrate the excellent range of local, high quality breakfast foods available across Northern Ireland.
“Our agri-food industry currently turns over £4 billion a year and events such as the annual Farmhouse Breakfast week, provides us with the opportunity to remind ourselves of the importance of this industry and to celebrate the contributions of Northern Ireland’s producers.”
Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill was on hand to show her support. Speaking at the event the minister said: “Farmhouse Breakfast Week has become an integral part of the agri-food calendar and I welcome the social networking dimension of this launch, bringing together key players in the industry as we look to the year ahead.
“We have become accustomed to top quality breakfast produce, whether that be the traditional morning breads such as soda, potato and wheaten, the porridge oats, or our meat, dairy and eggs, and it is pleasing to see that this quality is now being recognised further afield.
“By raising the profile of our local produce through projects and events such as this, we can send out a strong message to local consumers and on a global stage, that our local food is high quality, safe and wholesome.”
Commenting on the importance of the agriculture sector and looking to its future, Minister O’Neill added: “The food and drink sector is the largest manufacturing sector in the north of Ireland in terms of sales, exports and employment, and I believe that it has considerable potential to expand further, to service both local and global markets.
“The Agri-Food Strategy Board is due to report later this year with an industry-led action plan which will deliver growth for the sector. I am pleased that the Board has been engaging with a wide range of stakeholders and I await the report with interest.”
Martin Grantley-Smith, HGCA’s head of business development visited the province to support this prestigious event. He said: “HGCA is delighted to be returning to enjoy Farmhouse Breakfast at Greenmount. The strong support we continue to receive from Northern Ireland’s farmers and producers play an important role in continuing to raise awareness of the benefits of eating a healthy breakfast - and the wealth of wonderful breakfast produce available.” www.shakeupyourwakeup.com
UFU president Harry Sinclair added: “Breakfast is considered the most important meal of the day, so it is apt that we are celebrating this important industry with a breakfast meal. Despite rising production costs, Northern Ireland’s producers are still committed to ensuring that delicious and healthy food is available for our breakfast tables. With the success of another Farmhouse breakfast I would like to extend a special thanks to all the breakfast partners for their support and contributions today.”
Michele Shirlow from FoodNI concluded: “It is a privilege to have been able to work with Northern Ireland producers to put on the Northern Ireland Farmhouse Breakfast this year. There is an abundance of good food grown locally here in Northern Ireland, as can be seen by the contributions at this event, so there is no excuse for consumers not to be eating a healthy and delicious breakfast. Not only is this event highlighting the importance of breakfast but it is providing an excellent platform for recognising the quality of food produce here in Northern Ireland and the hard work and commitment of producers.”
Farmhouse Breakfast Week is supported by retailers, producers, schools, restaurants, cafes, hotels and farmer’s markets, so there’s no excuse for not getting out there and benefiting from the best meal of the day-breakfast.