A taste of local produce at the Ould Lammas

Niall McGinn from Dundarave Estate.
Niall McGinn from Dundarave Estate.

The Ould Lammas Fair is famed for its delicacies of dulse and Yellowman.

But there’ll be lots more local produce on offer at this year’s event courtesy of Naturally North Coast and Glens Artisan Market.

Declan O�"Brien from the Notorious Wood Fired Pizza Co.

Declan O�"Brien from the Notorious Wood Fired Pizza Co.

Its members sell a vast range of food and drink products, alongside art and craft items which all have a story to tell. The market will be open at the seafront in Ballycastle from Sunday 26th August and will continue on Monday and Tuesday (August 27th and 28th). On Sunday evening, there’ll also be a special Twilight Market until 9pm helping to enhance the fair’s unique atmosphere which has been drawing people to Ballycastle for over 400 years.

The market’s new seated street food area is the perfect place to enjoy the fresh gourmet produce created by some of the stall holders including Declan O’Brien from Notorious Wood Fired Pizza Co, based in Feeny. Its handmade Neapolitan-style wood fired pizzas are all cooked in a wood fired oven. The company sources its flour and tomatoes from Naples and complements this Italian touch with local produce as much as possible.

As a relative newcomer to the market scene, Declan said it has been a great experience so far: “By becoming a part of the market we have been able to network with local suppliers and get important feedback from our customers. Thankfully we have been receiving some wonderful reviews about our pizza! It is incredibly refreshing to know that customers appreciate the high quality local produce that we have all around us.”

Over the coming months the company aim to add products from Corndale Farm, North Coast Smokehouse along with Macroome Buffalo Mozzarella to its ingredients list, creating a very special ‘specials’ menu.

Sam Swart from the Causeway Cookie Company.

Sam Swart from the Causeway Cookie Company.

Market Co-Ordinator Shauna McFall added: “In the street food area we’ll have a range of tastes to choose from. We want our visitors to experience the diversity of the market while absorbing the sights and sounds of the fair from the beautiful seafront area. The added seating area offers people a chance to sit down and linger while soaking up the atmosphere.”

The market also provides an opportunity for children to get involved by offering Make and Take sessions. Under the expert guidance of Sam Swart from the Causeway Cookie Company, children (of all ages!) can have a go at decorating their own iced cookie (small fee applies). Sam has entered a number of sugar art collaborations and competitions and she won a Bronze medal at the 2017 Cake International held in Birmingham. To Sam, a decorated cookie is a work of art and you just need to look at her produce (which is all gluten-free) to see how true this really this!

Originally from South Africa, Sam is full of praise for the market community: “Being a part of the market gives me a sense of family and community, especially as I’m not originally from here. There’s mutual respect and always a helping hand if needed,” she said.

Chef Niall McGinn has worked in locations around the world including cruise ships and a 5 star hotel. The Ballycastle native is now settled back in the Causeway Coast area and is part of the team at Dundarave Estate outside Bushmills.

It sells a range of jams and chutneys through the market, and there’ll be some new flavours, including beetroot and dulse, available to coincide with the Ould Lammas Fair.

“The markets are a real change to the kitchen and it is nice being able to talk to people and explain our products and flavours to them. People are interested in hearing what works well together and it’s great to show them that there’s a world of things they can be used for,” he said.

It’s these type of conversations between producers and consumers which the market can effortlessly facilitate as Shauna explains: “The traders we work with are passionate about their work, and it shows through the quality of their offerings and top customer service.We always recommend that visitors talk to the traders to find out more about the produce they sell, the history, processes and work involved in creating the goods to get a true appreciation of their passion.”

And to support this ethos, over the Ould Lammas Fair the market will host a number of artisan demonstrations. This includes a showcase from Michael Scullion of Scullion Hurls (Sunday and Monday) who will use hand tools to shape a hurl from a single piece of root ash. Gerry Mullan (Sunday, Monday and Tuesday) from Limavady will showcase his pottery skills while Ballycastle-based artist Brege Stanley (Monday) will capture the stunning local scenery with a painting demonstration using acrylic paints.

Shauna added: “This mix of talent provides something for everyone, you’ll find experienced traders alongside new start-ups, all working together and supporting each other to help provide a fantastic mixed market experience offering food, art, and handmade craft.”

On Sunday, market organisers are preparing for a very special addition to their usual calendar of events with a seafront Twilight Market. From 7pm – 9pm, stalls will be open ahead of the Ould Lammas Fair fireworks display. It was held for the first time last year and attracted hundreds of people to what was an unforgettable evening.

The Sunday night of the fair has always enjoyed an air of excitement and anticipation and the enhanced seafront activities only add to this. From 9.30pm, the focus switches to the town centre where local band 30 Mile Limit will play a free outdoor gig in the Diamond for everyone to enjoy.

For the very latest news about Naturally North Coast and Glens Artisan Market at the Ould Lammas Fair, including a full list of traders, follow its Facebook page. For other updates about the event check out Causeway Coast events on Facebook and Twitter.