Portadown-based Long Meadow Cider are through to the finals of Blas na hÉireann, The Irish Food Awards.
The company’s Medium and Blossom Burst Craft Ciders have both been named as finalists in this prestigious competition, which aims to recognise and reward the very best Irish food and drink products and the passionate people who make them.
“We are absolutely delighted to have not just one, but two of our ciders listed as finalists in this very high profile competition.”Pat McKeever, Long Meadow Cider
Now into its ninth year the winners will be announced on Saturday the 1st October in Dingle, Co Kerry.
Up for grabs are gold, silver and bronze awards as well as key awards such as Supreme Champion and Best Artisan Produce.
“We are absolutely delighted to have not just one, but two of our ciders listed as finalists in this very high profile competition,” said Pat McKeever of Long Meadow Cider.
“The Blas na hEireann awards are the biggest blind tasting of produce and products in the country and the criteria for judging is now accepted as an international industry standard.”
For Long Meadow Cider it has already been an ‘award-winning’ year. The business, which is run by the McKeever family who have been growing and processing apples in County Armagh for three generations now, was named Best Drink Start-Up Business in the Grow Make Eat Drink Awards earlier this month and in May it picked up an award for the Best Use of PGI status produce - the Bramley apple - in the Food Heartland Awards. Peter McKeever was also shortlisted as a finalist in the Rising Start category of these Awards, and as a result was highly commended.
The company also tasted success in this year’s Guild of Fine Food Great Taste Awards picking up two stars for its Blossom Burst Cider.
Commenting on the two star Blossom Burst Long Meadow Cider the judges said “it made them feel like they were in an Orchard at Spring time”.
Added to this Long Meadow’s Cider Vinegar was named Best Artisan Food Product when launched at this year’s Balmoral Show in May and at the Clogher Valley Show in July the family was presented with a Galway Crystal Vase by the Duchess of Gloucester for having the most attractive display in the Food Hall.
“It’s been a tremendous year for us already,” said Catherine McKeever.
“Also back in May we met Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall when we were selected as one of the local producers to showcase our products when they visited the Yellow Door Deli in Portadown and that same month we were also involved in showcasing our cider at Fortnum & Mason in London in the Taste of Northern Ireland promotion that formed part of Northern Ireland’s Year of Food & Drink celebrations at the famous Piccadilly store.
“With everything that has happened to date it’s going to be difficult for us to pick a highlight from this year,” said Pat who is now gearing up for this year’s harvest.
“It’s also looking like a very good year in the Orchards,” he added. “We are looking forward to harvesting a good, healthy crop.
“April and May in particular were very good months and thankfully we had no frost this year – all of which should contribute to more excellent cider production in 2017.”