Showing posts with label Woodside Farm. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Woodside Farm. Show all posts

Sunday, September 10, 2017

FEAST. On the Street. The Main Event

FEAST. On the Street

The Main Event
Family day out. Busy side-street.

From the outset of the rebranded FEAST, Saturday had been billed as The Main Event. And the crowds of people up and down Midleton’s Main Street and side streets and in the Farmer’s Market, demonstrated just that. And, once again, the weather played its part, the odd shower no deterrent at all to those strolling and snacking, and those eating a tad more seriously at the long outdoor table opposite the Restaurant Tent where some eleven restaurants were selling delicious small plates at a fiver each.
Ethiopian stall

But is wasn't just the restaurants. Lots of other food (Green Saffron were busy, as always) available as well under the mainly blue sky. Great too to see the local butchers, including Jim Crowley and Frank Murphy, on the street, bakers too and coffee makers. No shortage of sweet stuff as you made your way between the various hot-spots.
The Granary Crew

The Demo Marquee was a magnet as Bertha’s Revenge Gin, Patrick Ryan’s sourdough, and various chefs, including Ciaran Scully, Lilly Higgins, Kevin Aherne and Martin Shanahan kept the punters entertained. Down in the Distillery, you could enjoy a premium whiskey tasting and Carol Quinn’s talk on the  history of whiskey here for a tenner.

Opposite the restaurant area was where the long table was situated and just beyond there was a packed children's zone with music shows, puppet shows, and amusements. The siting of the table and the amusement space close together was great for parents and I saw more than a few taking turns at the table and then relieving the partner on child duty!

The regular Farmer’s Market was also buzzing. Maybe one day, all will be accommodated on Main Street but on Saturday the traders were doing well. Had a friendly word with the Lobsterman who I’d met in Rostellan the evening before. Baker Declan Ryan was, as ever, on duty at Arbutus stall while Noreen Conroy was as busy and as friendly as ever at Woodside Farm. Nearby, at the Courthouse, the friendly GIY folk were dishing out advice on what to grown, how to grow it and when.
Monkfish, chorizo, flatbread by Samphire (at Garryvoe Hotel)

New!
Back on Main Street, it was hard to make choices. Would have been a gargantuan feat to sample something from all eleven restaurants! And that would leave out all the others. Tough. I had heard on the Twitter that Farmgate’s Chowder was a thing of splendour but by then I had had my fill.

One of the highlights was the Monkfish and chorizo flatbread served by head chef Kevin at the Samphire (Garryvoe Hotel) stand. The crab beignet by Pier 26 went down well. Jack and his team at the Granary Cafe stand were busy and their massive baked Rooster (with Ballinrostig nettle and  cream cheese and Gubbeen chorizo) was quite a treat and I also got a few pastries here to bring home.
Garlic selection

Indeed, that bag for home filled rapidly. Included were the Mango, Peach and habanero chutney a new product from the Rebel Chilli lads, some garlic (including Avram, Lautrec, and Pink Marble) from West Cork Garlic, a bag of Honduran coffee beans from  Badger & Dodo and 30-day aged beef from Woodside. Happy out, as we headed west from F-EAST! Here’s to next year.
Busy butcher Jim Crowley
See other posts from FEAST 2017

Thursday, August 20, 2015

New Stalls at Midleton Farmers Market. Getting Better all the time

New Stalls at Midleton Farmers Market
Getting Better all the time
Gorgeous Chanterelles from Ballyhoura Mushrooms at last Saturday's Market

Midleton Farmers Market, the original farmers market, was founded fifteen ago by Darina Allen and local farmers and has gone from strength to strength. Hard to get a stall there now but there were some newcomers last Saturday when I visited.

Space is limited but vacancies occur from time to time, particularly when a successful producer (Cobh’s Just Food, for example) outgrows the stall.

So now you may buy BBQ Jerk Chicken from Le Kiosk, vegetarian from Buddha Bites, coffee from Doppio, also doughnuts and ice cream from another stall. Check out the list of stallholders here, even if it is a little out of date!
Loving Salads, just one corner of their huge selection
Originals such as Woodside Farm, Frank Hedderman, and Ballymaloe are still very active here, side by side with more recent arrivals such as Jason Carroll’s Loving Salads and the Lobster Man. The Lobster Man has live lobsters and crabs, and sometimes brings a giant example. Do watch out for him. And watch out too for Jason who is due to open a cafe in Academy Street.

By the way, Hederman and Arbutus Breads are in the running for the Irish Times Best Market Stall. Best of luck folks.
Like all farmers markets, the atmosphere here is relaxed. Do your shopping, have a chat with stall-holders such as Barry Tyner (he sells fantastic patés) and Deirdre (she'll tell you all about the Arbutus range). Jane from Ardsallagh Goat Cheese always has something interesting to chat about, especially in the food line. Indeed, what you find is all the producers have time to talk to their customers and are very enthusiastic about the market in general and keen to spread the word.

Then take a break, have a cup of coffee and listen to the music. It is a terrific way to spend a Saturday morning and you’ll have excellent produce in your bags and enough of it to keep you going over the weekend.

Other local markets on Saturday include Douglas, Coal Quay, Skibbereen, Bandon and Crosshaven. See countrywide list, compiled by Bord Bia, here .
Newcomers (above and below)


Midleton celebrated its 15th anniversary last May and here’s what stall holder Ballymaloe Cookery School wrote then:  It has been an outlet not only for the many artisan producers of the area, but also for high profile food producers that have had stalls at Midleton Farmers Market, including Clodagh McKenna, Darina Allen, Arun Kapil of Green Saffron Masaalchi and Frank Hederman of Belvelly Smokehouse. The market has also been featured in many TV shows, including the Ear to the Ground, Nationwide (Irish TV series), Rick Stein's Ireland and @Clodagh's Food Trails which has seen by viewers across the States and Australia as well as the UK and mainland Europe, helping position Ireland, and indeed Cork, as a major food destination.


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Taste of the Week from Woodside Farm

Taste of the Week

from Woodside Farm

Low and slow was the advice from Martin Conroy of Woodside Farm as we put our Shoulder of Pork into the bag at Mahon Point Farmers Market the other day. Have you tasted his super pork in a bun at the markets? This guy knows what he is talking about and so we took serious heed of the cooking hints.

The pork went into the oven around lunch-time on Sunday and was perfect when dinner-time rolled around. So too were the root vegetables that had been cooked with it. We were expecting something special but it went far beyond that.

The meat was so tender, so full of flavour, so absolutely tasty that nothing was left. Don't think the begging mutt got his usual scrap.

Woodside only sell meat from their own pigs and don't buy in any meat and pass it off as their own. When you buy their products you can be sure you are getting a Truly Free Range Product. They do not use antibiotics, growth promoters or copper nor do they feed their pigs commercial ration or pre-medicated feed. 

This is a Taste of the Week with a delicious difference. Highly Recommended and well worth a try! They also do the markets in Wilton, Midleton and Douglas.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Seaweed Bread Debuts in Midleton Farmers Market. Irresistible Salads also.

Seaweed Bread Debuts in Midleton Farmers Market

Irresistible Salads also.
New to Arbutus: Seaweed loaf (left) and San Fran sourdough
Arbutus Bread, pioneers in the real bread field, are on the move again. Called in to Midleton Farmers Market last Saturday morning and a delighted Dee was on hand to show me their new Seaweed Bread and I was delighted to taste this beauty.

Dee and Declan are rightly proud of this loaf but very keen too to acknowledge the contributions of Galway’s James Cunningham, who produced the seaweed ingredient, and also the help given by John and Sally McKenna.

Brilliant really, isn't it, how people in the real food area (also in the craft brewing sector) cooperate with one another, in the style of the old time meitheal. More and better products are the result and we (the customers) are all winners.  James Cunningham summed it up over the weekend:  “I love that someone can take my produce and give it a life in their produce. Pretty cool.”

Might be some tweaking to be done yet - the final loaf may be a little higher on profile but it is good. As Dee says this is “We will be doing it in a  Boule sourdough to start. A work in progress, first loaf today, so lots more trials to do.”
Salads galore
Dee says the salt content has been reduced to allow the seaweed flavour shine through. But don't worry, you won't be tasting seawater here or anything like it. Just an excellent well made bread. In any event, and I'm quoting the McKenna’s here, seaweed doesn't absorb a lot of salt - just sea minerals and vitamins.

Why seaweed bread? And what exactly is the “magic” ingredient? Dee explains: “Noribake, which we are using, is a natural organic Irish product which we have in abundance. The benefits are:
Natural immune stimulant & gut flora modulator;
Lowers GI index of baked goods;
Allows salt and sugar levels to be reduced in line with EU trends;  
Anti-staling effects of formula extends shelf life of baked goods;
Alginate content gives consumer the experience of being   ‘fuller for longer’.”

And Arbutus haven't stopped at that. They have also introduced a new sourdough, moving away from the French style that has served them, and us, so well, to a new more folded San Francisco version. So there you are. “Two healthy loaves for you,’ says Dee.

Jason Carrell’s Ginger Room Salads is a new attraction at this pioneering East Cork market and I had lots of recommendations to call to his stall. And he has an inviting display, a huge range of salads, all in colourful matching bowls (brought back from his travels in Fiji, I’m told).

Organic veg from Ballymaloe
Just had a quick chat as we made our purchases (Jason was very busy and sells out every day). But do note that his huge range of “tasty healthy funky style salads” are also available at Wilton (Tuesday) and Kinsale (Wednesday) as well as Midleton (Saturday).

Got to call to some of the long-standing stalls as well including pioneers Ballymaloe who had a fine display of, among other things, organic vegetables; Hederman's close by had no shortage of their quality smoked fish, got a lovely piece of pork from Noreen of Woodside, fish from O’Driscoll’s, a selection of mushrooms from Lucy of Ballyhoura Mushrooms and a bag of big juicy red apples from another stall. All the while the music played, the coffee flowed as did conversations and laughter. Will only get better on the Saturdays ahead!



Saturday, June 28, 2014

Chatting My Way Around the Midleton Farmers Market

Chatting My Way Around the Midleton Farmers Market
Filling a few bags as well!
Immaculate King Oyster from Ballyhoura Mushrooms
Looks like quite a few of the traders from the Midleton Farmers Market are heading to the City Hall on Monday for the Cork Kerry Food Forum and Artisan Fair. The afternoon session, from 12.30pm on, is open to the public and you’ll have  a chance to sample and buy the products.

In the morning, there might well be a question or two about rulebook regulation hampering the development of small producers. That was certainly a topic in Midleton on Saturday. There is agreement that regulation is needed but so too is common sense.
Heaven's Cakes

The difference between shopping at a market and elsewhere was heavily and pleasantly underlined for me on Saturday. So many stops, so many chats, even a recipe from one producer. Bought one of Frank Hederman’s smoked mackerel (I know lots of you love the fillets but you must try the whole fish smoked on the bone) and Frank himself gave us a few tips on making the best use of it.

Cobh's Just Food started off at a corner of a stall in Midleton and it was great to see Deirdre Hilliard back in the market and supporting the stall-holders. She’ll be in the City Hall on Monday as will Jane Hegarty of Ardsallagh Goats. I was gossiping away to Jane as she handed out samples and one of them stopped me in full flow. It was a mature cheddar, four years old, delicious. She hasn't much left though and when its gone….

Deirdre’s nieces, Lilly and Roisin Higgins, were ”breakfasting” at the market but I don't think they got too much at all as their kids weren't inclined to leave any of the gorgeous pizza after them! Had a chat too with Lucy from Ballyhoura Mushrooms but forgot (too much gossip going on) to go back and buy some. Next time Lucy!


Mackerel, smoked on the bone.

Bumped into Colm and Aoife McCann from Ballymaloe and Peter Corr of Febvre Wine, and children. Colm is busy as usual lining up great wine events for Ballymaloe and has high hopes for the visit of the amazing Riedel Wine Glasses Show in November. That’s a long way off but there’ll be plenty of tastings and so on in between and we’ll let you know as soon as Colm has confirmed.

Also stopped to say hello to Noreen Conroy of Woodside Farm. They now have two stalls in the market, the second selling their delicious hot food.

We did manage to buy a few other bits and pieces, including (under instructions from Mr Hederman) some Ballycotton spuds from Willie, irresistible strawberries from Rose Cottage Farm  and, of course, bread from Arbutus. Another chat (French themed!) here of course with Declan and Deirdre before we retreated back to the city with one of their delicious Almond and Saffron Rings in the bag. Half of it is gone already and I don't think it will last the day!

Almond and Saffron by Arbutus



Friday, May 2, 2014

Sage: a restaurant with personality!

I left my city house on Thursday evening and 12 miles later I was in Sage.....

Sage: a restaurant with personality!



I’m sitting in a restaurant reading the back label on a beer bottle, telling me this beer's got personality. I'm reminded of our former football manager Giovanni Trapattoni and his frequent use of the word, sometimes in relation to a particular player, sometimes when talking about the group.

And then I think about this restaurant and its personality. And the players here? Who are they? Basically, they are the 12 mile producers, for this is Sage in Midleton, the home of the 12 mile menu.

The local producers are pictured on the walls and on the Sage website. Lovely relaxed photos: the butcher on his bike (not straying too far from the support of the wall), the Conroys with their Woodside farm pig and the broad smile of Olive from Castlemary Goats and more.

And if these are the players, then chief patron Kevin Aherne is surely the “manager”. He has brought them all together in a top class “group” that is now more than the sum of its parts. In a week when a small restaurant in a Basque village is named as the best steakhouse in the world, there is no reason to think that Sage is less than a contender in any championship, home or away. Indeed, this week too Kevin has been named as Best Chef in Cork in the RAI Awards.

It is early (6.15pm) on a Thursday night and Sage is almost full, local and international visitors among the customers, as we study the menu. Lunch is when you get the pure 12 mile menu but the local produce permeates all Sage menus and is also seen in their adjoining Greenroom (open all day).

No surprise then that we picked the shared “A taste of 12 mile sharing board for 2” (€22.00) as our starter. They had two of everything on the board, so no fighting! Enjoyed it all including the compressed Chicken, the Beef Fillet carpaccio, the pig's cheek, the Sage Black pudding, the goat’s cheese, pickled vegetables, chorizo, monkfish, and more.

The specials board was one of the first things I checked as I came in and decided, more or less immediately, to have the Woodside Farm Pork Shoulder as my mains. It turned out to be a super dish, superbly presented.

It came with honey glazed veg, cream mash, Sage gravy and the most delightful Spring broccoli. Our other mains, another excellent plateful, was Hake, landed in Ballycotton, and served with Mussels, spinach potato, celeriac and a delicious bacon cream.
Oh, by the way, that beer too has personality, and much more besides. Indeed, brewers Blacks are on a winner with their Kinsale Pale Ale. Almost missed that list of local craft beers though, as it is at the back of the wine list!

And speaking of winners, thanks to Kevin and his staff, back and front (service was informative, calm and friendly, spot on), for another brilliant meal. For an hour or two last night Sage was the centre of our world. Well worth a detour, even a special journey.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Taste of the Week. A Woodside Farm Special!

Taste of the Week. A Woodside Farm Special!
If you are heading down to the weekly Mahon Point Farmers Market this Thursday, make a beeline to the Woodside Farm stall and treat yourself to our Taste of the Week.


Martin Conroy’s blackboard gives all the details: Free Range Saddleback Hog Roast, with caramelised Onion, Apple sauce, Ballymaloe relish, Mustard and salad, all contained (almost) in a lovely bap by Pana. The slow cooked meat comes with a guarantee:  All our meat comes from pigs born on our farm.


Martin and wife Noreen (and increasingly the younger members of the family) operate not just in Mahon but also in Douglas, Cobh and Midleton markets. Their products are on sale in the shop at the Ballymaloe Cookery School and you’ll also see them next month in the Big Shed in Ballymaloe during the LitFest.


“We breed pedigree Saddleback and Pedigree Gloucester Old Spot pigs.They live outdoors all of their lives where they root and forage, they sleep in movable arks on straw bedding.We don't feed our pigs commercial ration instead they are fed mainly rolled wheat and we also grow Kale and Swede Turnip.They are rotated onto fresh pasture regularly.”

You may well be familiar with his tasty pork and bacon products but this recently introduced hot dish is something special. “That’ll set you up for the day,” Martin called to me as I queued up last Thursday (it does get very busy as lunch-time  approaches).  He wasn't kidding. This wasn't just a lunch snack. Think dinner here! Massive and massively tasty. Very Highly Recommended.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Taste of the Week

Taste of the Week
Old Millbank smoked salmon, served with a Cajun style potato salad.
Sometimes I make the mistake of thinking all good things are to be found on social media, that all local food producers use either Twitter and Facebook or both. Of course, that is not the case. And you could lose out if you confine yourself to those online. Take the Old Millbank Smokery in North Cork, for instance. You'll find Geraldine Bass's smoked salmon in some of the best local restaurants. And you can get to meet and chat with the award winning producer herself at her stall in the local markets. I bought the salmon in the picture above from her at Mahon Point where she also had other tasty products on sale, including a smashing salmon Pate.

The Conroy's of Woodside Farm in East Cork are also regulars at Mahon and other markets and are no strangers to social media. I have mentioned some of their products in recent weeks. But not this fantastic salami. All you need here really is a sharp knife. Be careful though, not just with the knife. I was eating this as fast as I could cut it. Addictive!



Friday, January 3, 2014

Taste of the Week

Taste of the Week
One of the most encouraging developments in Farmers Markets in the last 12 months or so is the cooperation between the various producers and market stallholders. And I don’t mean looking out for one another, which they do.

Dungarvan Brewing Company's use of Badger and Dodo's coffee in their absolutely gorgeous Coffee and Oatmeal Stout was an early example while, more recently Arbutus Bread started used Eight Degrees beer for their Beer Bread.

The most recent one I came across is, I think, a very tasty success indeed, and is my Taste of the Week. Here you have the free range produce of Martin Conroy’s Woodside Farm in East Cork becoming the base of a superb ready to use (well, you do have to heat it!) meal by Flynn's Kitchen of Riverstick.

Basically, the meat balls are made by Iain Flynn using Martin's pork mince, beef mince and lardons. The sauce is tomato based with basil, chive, garlic oil and veg added. And I can you tell us the result is divine! Enjoyed that the other day and now can’t wait to try Iain’s Chorizo and Bean Stew, their other combination, both available at the local Farmers Markets.