This year’s Savour Kilkenny Food Festival is applauding local Food Heroes by honouring their achievements and innovation and crowning the Kilkenny Food Producer of the Year.
A dozen of Kilkenny’s finest food producers will be showcased in a marquee on the Parade Plaza during the festival from October 25-29. The public will be able to meet with their Food Heroes, learn the secrets of their success and taste their products. A team of judges will select the Savour Kilkenny Food Producer of the Year 2012 from the nominees who will receive a specially commissioned piece of pottery by Mark Campden of Bridge Pottery.
We introduced you to three of these Food Heroes last week; now meet the second batch.
Mag Kirwan, Goatsbridge Trout Farm
Since 1961, Goatsbridge Trout in Thomastown has produced farm fresh, premium-quality Irish trout. Run by Mag and Ger Kirwan, the trout farm is one of the few in Ireland that produces trout from start to finish, growing their fish from tiny eggs to fully adult fish. Mag is passionate about her work, abiding by the “farm to fork” philosophy, ensuring a taste and freshness that is second to none.
All of the trout produced is rainbow trout and is offered in a variety of ways. Customers can have their trout whole, gutted, portioned or in fillets, and smoked trout products are also on offer.
In March 2012, Mag and Ger launched Ireland’s first trout caviar, which has since gained acclaim at home and abroad. The fearlessness shown in launching such a product provides innovation and hope in the current economic climate. Goatsbridge trout farm continues to grow and currently has 20 employees.
Mag’s hard work and innovation have not gone unnoticed, winning awards such as the Good Food Ireland Highly Commended Food Producer of the Year and a JFC innovation award.
Away from the trout farm, Mag enjoys spending time with her four children and has a particular love for hill walking. Goatsbridge is open throughout the year. See www.goatsbridge.ie.
Mary McEvoy, A Slice of Heaven
Mary McEvoy’s patisserie, a Slice of Heaven on Kilkenny’s High Street, provides amazing hand-crafted cakes and pastries. Whether it’s wedding cakes, birthday cakes or any occasion, Mary puts great attention to detail into her work, using 100% natural ingredients, sourced locally where possible.
Formerly a pastry chef at L’Ecrivain and at the Kilkenny Ormonde Hotel, she is a highly qualified cake decorator and her creations are outstanding. Such is her skill that dietary requirements, food intolerances and allergies can be catered for when ordering and designing customised cakes.
In 2010 Mary received a Bridgestone Award for Best New Producer, and more recently A Slice of Heaven received a great write up in 2012’s edition.
An increase in demand for her produce led to Mary opening a shop front on High Street Kilkenny earlier this year. The new venture is going very well so far, a great achievement in the current climate.
The shop is open from Tuesday through to Saturday, and every Saturday customers have the opportunity to partake in workshops and demonstrations. See www.asliceofheaven.ie.
Kitty Colchester, Second Nature Oils
In 1976, Kitty’s parents, Ben and Charlotte, established Drumeen Farm near Urlingford, leading the way in the organic movement in Ireland long before it was fashionable or profitable. Today at Drumeen Farm, Kitty produces an alternative to imported oils, growing, cold-pressing and bottling Irish organically grown rapeseed oil.
Kitty has proven that it is possible to produce an indigenous alternative to imported oils and, by avoiding the use of synthetic chemicals, to ensure that it is kind the body and the environment. Freshness and correct storage are key to nutritious and flavor some oil. The quality, nutritional value and taste of the Happy Heart Rapeseed oil are ensured by cold-pressing small batches, bottling, delivering to shop floors immediately and storing the oil in dark bottles or tins.
Within months of the organic rapeseed oil being brought to the market, it started winning major awards and demand has exceeded expectations. The awards include JFC, Bridgestone, Bord Bia, Great Taste and Euro Toque awards. Kitty’s Irish Organic rapeseed oil was also used on England’s Queen Elizabeth II’s menu in representing the ‘Best of Irish Foods’ during her visit to Ireland.
Kitty’s products are available nationwide in farmers markets, artisan food shops, health food stores, craft butchers, fish mongers, cookery schools, and some chemists and supermarkets, while many top restaurants now use Second Nature Oils in their kitchens.
Kitty has a keen interest in nutrition, food and sustainable food production. Away from this, she enjoys travelling, culture and languages.
See www.secondnatureoils.com or its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/secondnatureoils.