There’ll be a strong flavour of the Causeway Coast and Glens at next weekend’s Blas na hEireann Irish Food Awards.
Five local producers from the area have been shortlisted for the prestigious accreditation - which is much sought after by both producers and consumers alike.
The winners will be revealed in Dingle next Saturday (September 30th) and representatives from Corndale Farm and Broighter Gold in Limavady, Ballinteer Farm in Macosquin, Lacada Brewery in Portrush and Glenballyeamon Eggs in Cushendall will make the long journey to County Kerry to find out if their products are among the best in Ireland.
The weekend will also feature a series of networking events and workshops, giving the producers unrivalled access to potential new buyers and markets.
The five finalists are all members of Causeway Coast and Glens Food Network. Established by Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, it aims to transform the reputation of food from the area, by acting as a gateway to support avenues and market knowledge.
The Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Councillor Joan Baird OBE, said: “I’m delighted to see that our region so well represented at these much-respected food awards. Our Food Network is a terrific example of partnership working, and I know our producers greatly value its support. The provenance of our food and drink is becoming more and more important, and the Causeway Coast and Glens area has much to celebrate in this regard. I wish the finalists all the very best.”
Meet the finalists
Broighter Gold rapeseed oil is a family business, growing one single variety seed on one type of soil. Oils are pressed to ensure a milder, golden purity. Ran by husband and wife team Richard and Leona Kane, the business is part of the Économusée network, allowing visitors a chance to get a unique perspective on a truly artisan product. Between 2012 & 2016, Broighter Gold won eight Great Taste Awards. In 2015, it was named Enterprise Ireland Home Based Business of the Year and Best New Product (small business) at the NI Food & Drinks Awards 2015.
The Broighter Gold Cold Pressed Pure Oil is a finalist at the Blas na hEireann awards in the Savoury Sauces, Condiments & Pantry category.
Ballinteer Farm is a third generation family farm dedicated to locally produced, high quality quail meat and eggs. It’s the only quail farm in Northern Ireland. Birds on the farm are housed in spacious aviaries providing a natural environment with maximum comfort. The quail eggs are flavoursome with a delicate creamy texture and their meat is succulent with some mild gamey notes. Ballinteer Farm was last year’s Best Food Start Up business at the Grow Make Eat Awards and Artisan Producer of the Year at the Farming Life/Danske Bank Awards. In the Blas na hEireann food awards, Ballinteer Farm is a finalist in the Poultry category.
Established in 2012, Corndale Farm produces top quality, high welfare, free range pork. Based on the outskirts of Limavady, at the foothills of Binevenagh Mountain, it adopts the field to fork approach and full traceability can be ensured in all their products. The farm’s free range charcuterie style products include chorizo, salami, pancetta and air dried meats. Last year, The Irish Food Guide Blog declared it the Best Irish Charcuterie. Proprietor Alastair Crown was shortlisted in both the Young Entrepreneur of the Year category at the Farming Life Awards and Artisan Food Producer of the Year at the Enterprise NI awards. The farm was runner-up in the Henderson Foodservice Flavour of the North competition and shortlisted in the People’s Choice category at the NI Food & Drink Awards. At the Blas na hEireann food awards, Corndale Farm is a finalist in the Cured Meat and Charcuterie category.
This community owned co-operative brewery was launched in October 2015. Its artfully produced craft beers take their names from landmarks and stories on the Causeway Coast, tying the product firmly with the visitor experience in the area. Last year Lacada was named Best New Brewery in Northern Ireland at ratebeer.com and received a Gold Star from the Guild of Fine Foods. He also received a bronze medal at this year’s Dublin Craft Beer Cup. Lacada Brewery is a Blas na hEireann food awards finalist in the Beers, Ales, Lagers and Stouts category.
Glenballyeamon Eggs is a friendly family run business based in the beautiful Glens of Antrim. It’s dedicated to creating the best possible environment for hens, which can then produce delicious free range and fresh farm eggs. The business has won a number of awards over the years, including Great Taste awards in 2016 2017 for its free range eggs.
Glenballyeamon Eggs is a Blas na hEireann food awards finalist for both its free range and barn eggs in the Chef’s Larder category.