TV role for local food producers

The work of four of Northern Ireland’s most innovative food producers will be featured this month on BBC ‘The Farmers’ Country Showdown’, the TV series which celebrates inspirational farming families and the rural events where they showcase their produce.

Filmed at the Irish Game & Fine Food Festival last June, with the stunning background of Shanes Castle, the programmes will be screened on BBC1 at 15:35, then repeated at 07:15 on BBC2 the next day.

Wednesday 23 January - ‘Chorizo & Sausages’

Corndale Farm, Limavady - who have developed their own air-dried Spanish style Chorizo. The multi-award winning business was established in 2012 by Alastair Crown, with the aim of producing top-quality pork from his herd of rare-breed, free-range pigs. Corndale Farm now produces a range of products which include Chorizo, Chilli Chorizo and Salami. At the 2018 Irish Game & Fine Food Festival those products were in high demand and received overwhelmingly enthusiastic feedback.

Forthill Farm, Tandragee - Kenny and Jennifer Gracey are producing the best quality free range pork and free range beef from traditional breeds namely Belted Galloway and Longhorn Cattle, Gloucestershire Old Spots and British Saddleback pigs. They firmly believe that the older traditional breeds produce meat of superior quality and assert that ‘food from the farm’ is the new way to reclaim traditional standards. For this couple, it’s about providing enjoyable food with real taste, through an unwavering focus on product quality, innovation and customer satisfaction.

Tuesday 29 January - ‘Rapeseed Oil & Buffalo’

Harnett’s Oils, Waringstown – the Harnett family has been associated with the Waring Estate Farm since 1656, so love and understanding of the land runs deep. Today oilseed rape and hemp grown on the farm is cold-pressed, then bottled entirely on site before these award-winning golden-hued bottles of incredibly healthy loveliness find their way into a vast range of stores. Oodles of Essential Fatty Acids in the perfect ratio for the human metabolism as well as vital vitamins and terrific trace elements make Harnett’s Oils as delicious as they are healthy.

Ballyriff Buffalo, Magherafelt - the first and (so far!) only water buffalo farm in Northern Ireland. While water buffalos may not enjoy a traditional association with the environs of Magherafelt, a fifty strong herd is now happily at home on the O’Briens’ farm situated in the foothills of the Sperrin Mountains. Containing half the fat of ordinary meat and between 40 to 60 percent lower in cholesterol, buffalo meat also provides twice as much calcium and protein as beef – and is proving a popular choice for those looking for the combination of provenance, high quality and healthy attributes.

Commenting on the success of the Irish Game Fair & Fine Food Festival in helping to highlight the real appeal of local food producers, Director Albert Titterington said: “Even when you’ve got a product with an extra special something that makes it really stand out, it can still be very difficult to secure national recognition. However, for four local food producers attending the Irish Game Fair and Fine Food Festival, that dream will come true, when they feature in the top BBC show, ‘Farmers’ Country Showdown’ this month.”

“Our Game Fairs have always attracted massive publicity, and I am delighted that even more of our local exhibitors are getting the national recognition and exposure they so richly deserve: Last year, the Shanes Castle event generated huge interest through coverage by BBC NI’s Home Ground and our partnership forged with the national Delicious magazine reinforced the developing ‘foodie’ element of the Fair, giving Northern Irish artisan exhibitors an important new showcase – and the business-boosting profile they so richly deserve.”

Turning to the huge impact the event has had nationally for Northern Ireland, Albert Titterington said: “Our Shanes Castle event was listed in the Daily Telegraph’s prestigious ‘Top 20 Food Festivals in the UK, while Trip Advisor (which boasts 3 million unique users) listed the Irish Game Fair amongst the top 10 UK visitor attractions for June 2018.

“As well as these high points, the very positive PR coverage, via broadcast media exposure and across regional, weekly press, daily newspapers and in magazines/journals including a prestigious German ‘Guide to Ireland,’ was estimated to have a value of over £800,000. Vitally, in a difficult economic climate, there was a real economic boost for our exhibitors and to the local economy generally.”

The 2019 two great Game Fairs of Ireland – the Irish Country Lifestyle Festival, Galway Racecourse 15/16 June and the Irish Game Fair at Shane Castle, Antrim will once again be hosting Fine Food Festivals, with exhibitor info available now at Irishgamefair@btinernet.com