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National Organic Awards

 

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The brilliant team at Ummera: Andrew, Jonathan, Sheila and Steve with the award for the Best New Organic Product of the year!

The latest figures from Kantar Worldpanel indicate a significant upturn for the Irish organic sector. Building on the momentum of last year’s growth of over 6%, the new figures, published by Bord Bia today, show a further year on year increase of 23.7% to bring the total value of organic grocery sales to €142 million.

 

The figures were announced today during the National Organic Awards which took place in Bord Bia’s Dublin headquarters. Over 70 industry representatives gathered for the event which rewards quality and excellence within the Irish organic sector across categories including best new product, chef’s choice, export and innovation.

 

Following rigorous judging of some 278 individual products, a record high level of entries, seven organic food companies were selected as overall category winners. Two Leitrim food businesses were among the top seven. The Organic Centre, based in Rossinver, won Best Fresh Product Award for its Organic Salad Bag, a selection of mixed salad leaves with edible flowers and herbs, which the judges noted was a clear winner as it “simply epitomised organic”, while the Best Prepared Product Award went to Drumshambo’s Blake’s Always Organic for its Culture Blend Coffee.

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Based in Timoleague, Co.Cork Ummera Smoked Products won the Best New Product award for its Smoked Organic Picanha Beef made using the rump cap cut of beef, which the judges noted as “exceptional”. The business, a smokehouse in operation for over 40 years, currently supplies the product to a number of hotels and restaurants nationwide. Flahavan’s Irish Organic Porridge, which is exported to over 11 countries including UAE, Russia and South Korea, was awarded the Export Award.

 

Other deserving award winners today included Highbank Orchards in Kilkenny, whose Orchard Syrup picked up the Chefs’ Choice Award, a new category for 2016, for its versatility in the kitchen; Mulberry Meadow Organic Farm based in Monaghan won the Innovation Award for its My Organics Living Salad – Salad Bowl Mix. The judges considered the “vibrant” product as unique within the sector. Finally, Galway’s Green Earth Organics received the Direct Selling Award for its 100% Irish Veg Box, which the business sells online making it easy for shoppers to access locally-grown, organic produce.

 

Earlier this week, the Minister of State for the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Andrew Doyle TD announced a financial boost for the Irish organic sector. Speaking today, Minister Doyle said “my Department’s commitment to the development of the organic sector was underlined by the announcement of €10m in funding for the sector in Budget 2017. The importance of our indigenous agriculture and food industry has never been as high. It is fundamental to our export led economic recovery and the Organic Sector can pay an important role in this development.”

 

He added “the quality of Irish organic produce submitted for this awards competition, clearly shows that Irish organic food has the high quality and standard required to compete on the world stage. Today is a celebration of your achievements as Irish organic food and drink manufacturers and I wish you every success”.

 

In response to the recent growth figures Aidan Cotter, Chief Executive, Bord Bia commented “The welcomed increase in organic food sales in Ireland reflects a similar trend across many other European markets. Consumers growing interest in health and wellness has bolstered the sector and will continue to provide further growth opportunities for Irish organic suppliers, at home and abroad. It is particularly positive news for today’s awards winners and finalists, who excel in their respective categories, as they are now best positioned to benefit from this upturn.”

 

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Anthony Creswell receiving the award from Minister of State, Andrew Doyle, and Aidan Cotter, CEO of Bord Bia.

This year, in addition to participation at Biofach, the world’s largest organic congress and key European trade fair, Bord Bia coordinated a series of organic focused market study visits to Germany, the UK, Netherlands and Scandinavia to explore potential new export opportunities for organic producers.  ”As part of the European Union, we have access to the second largest organic market in the world, after the US. Valued at approximately €25 billion, Europe represents 45% of global organic revenue and it is expected to reach almost €38 billion by 2020*” added Mr. Cotter. “Bord Bia is fully committed to doing everything in its power to support this sector reach its full potential.”

 

Meanwhile, on the domestic front, almost 94% of Irish shoppers are reported to purchase organic goods, on average once every two weeks. According to Kantar data, Irish consumers are making more organic purchasing trips, with organic becoming more accessible with smaller pack formats and more affordable organic products on offer.

 

 

Judges

This year’s prestigious judging panel included JP McMahon, Michelin-starred chef from Aniar restaurant, Co. Galway; freelance journalists Suzanne Campbell and Oliver Moore; Alan Kinnear, International Buying Manager, Ocado, UK online retailer; Al Overton, Head of Buying, Planet Organic, UK’s largest fully certified organic supermarket; Lisa Garrett, Innovation Chef with Le Pain Quotidien restaurant, based in Kildare Village and chairman Evan Doyle, Owner The BrookLodge Hotel, Macreddin Village, Aughrim, Co. Wicklow.

 

National Organic Plan

Established by the National Organic Plan under the auspices of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine in collaboration with Bord Bia, the objective of the National Organic Awards is to recognise the achievements and raise the profile of Irish organic food and drink manufacturers and growers. Now in their 8th year, the awards are recognised as an important fixture for the organic food and drink industry.

 

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Coincidence and a Smokehouse Tour!

Ummera Smokehouse - Tours

The Collins English Dictionary definition of Coincidence is “A chance occurrence of events remarkable either for being simultaneous or for apparently being connected”

We had an email yesterday from a friend and customer from Waterford saying that a couple of days ago he was listening to The Right Hook, a current affairs program on Newstalk Radio, and heard Ummera Smokehouse mentioned, along with Stonewell Cider, my brother-in-law’s very successful craft cider business.

Curiosity grabbed me and I tracked down the Podcast of the show. The only relevant one was entitled “Manchan returns, and takes George to Irish breweries”, relevant because of the Stonewell Cider connection to craft breweries.

Manchan Magan stood as a Green Party candidate in the recent General Election and is a broadcaster on travel on The Right Hook. However, in yesterday’s programme he was talking, after a few minutes discussion on his Election campaign, about Craft Brewery Tours in particular and he mentioned Mia Tobin of Brewery Hops, a small group tour business specialising in such tours. And Manchan mentioned Ummera Smokehouse as one of the stops on their way from Kinsale (home of Stonewell Cider and also Blacks Brewery) to Killarney!

Ummera Smoked Products

Last year we were very happy to receive several groups with Mia for a smokehouse tour. One of the visitors came from Hawaii and we were more than happy to send her a side of smoked salmon in September! The last time we sent something to Hawaii was smoked eel in 2011 just before they became an endangered species. Read about it here! There was also a couple from Italy who were setting up an Irish Country Pub in Liguria and were planning on serving up real Irish food.

Now this is where the Coincidence comes into play because a few hours after the Right Hook show, and Manchan and George had finished talking about brewery tours, lo and behold we received our very first order from Sabrina and Eugenio in Liguria, Italy!

Do you really believe that they were listening to George Hook and Manchan Magan yesterday?

No, just Coincidence!

Listen to the podcast and all about Irish Craft Beers by clicking here.

 

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Ballymaloe LitFest

Ballymaloe LitFest

Ummera Smoked Products Ireland

This weekend Ballymaloe House and Cookery School in East Cork plays host to an amazing gathering of food and drink lovers at the secondBallymaloe Literary Food and Wine Festival.

You will find us in The Big Shed! Look out for a large orange umbrella – we will be underneath it, tempting you to a taste!

We are very privileged to be taking part in one of the events on Sunday afternoon from 3:30pm to 4:30pm in the Drinks Theatre:

‘Smoked Salmon – with a glass of wine, or a Ball O’ Malt or artisan cider?’ – talk and tasting with Dave Broom, Whiskey Writer, Leslie Williams, Wine Writer, Daniel Emerson of Stonewell Cider and Anthony Creswell, Smoked Salmon producer – includes smoked salmon tasting with wine, whiskey and artisan cider.

For full details, click here: http://www.litfest.ie/events/smoked-salmon-glass-wine-or-ball-o-malt-or-artisan-cider

Do you have your favourite drink with smoked salmon?

If you do, please let us know what it is before this Sunday, May 18th. Whoever has the most original suggestion will  have a side of our Smoked Salmon sent to them to enjoy with their recommendation!

 Email your suggestions NOW to [email protected]

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Smoked Duck and Pear Appetiser Spoons

These little bites of splendor allow the smoked duck to shine!

10 slices Ummera Smoked Silverhill Duck
1 firm, but ripe pear
2 tablespoons walnut oil
½ tablespoon balsamic vinegar
½ teaspoon honey
½ teaspoon four spices mix (recipe follows)
In a small bowl blend oil, vinegar, honey and spices (including salt and pepper)
Peel and slice pear
Fill appetizer spoons with a slice of pear, topped with a slice of  Ummera smoked duck and another pear slice
Add a little vinaigrette to the spoons and you are done!
Four spices mix:
2 t cinnamon
1 t ground ginger
1 t ground clove
1 t ground nutmeg
As an option, use an Endive leaf to put the pear and duck on.  It really works

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Coast to Coast USA – Smoked Duck recipes

Last week a great friend of ours, Wendy, was seeking some ideas for presenting our Smoked Duck; being an American (although living here for a number of years) she contacted Lynne Rossetto Kasper of The Splendid Table, the syndicated food radio show that is broadcast throughout the USA. And here was the result:

Smoked Duck & The Splendid Table

We will be publishing some recipes featuring our Smoked Silver Hill Duck Breasts very shortly but if you have one that you think we should try, do let us know in the “Comments” section below.

If you haven’t seen the video of Ummera victorious at the Great Taste Awards in September 2010, here it is:

Best Irish Speciality Food 2010

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Our favourite Organic Porridge wins…..

Congratulations to Flahavans for winning the Exporter of the Year Award 2009 last night; their organic porridge gets me going these dark and damp mornings!

Ummera Smokehouse was one of the Nominees for the Seafood Exporter of the Year Award along with Burren Smokehouse in Co. Clare and Glenmar Shellfish in Co. Cork. The winner was Burren Smokehouse for its success in exporting 60% of its products. Congratulations!

One of the challenges that we, as a small producer and player in the export field, have to face continuously is the amount of paper work; certainly since the EU this has been reduced dramatically for exports within the EU, but move outside the EU and it’s a minefield!

When exporting to the USA, for example, not only do we have to be registered with the US FDA, but for every shipment, be it 1 kg of Smoked Salmon heading over to the US as a Christmas present or a 40′ container, we have to apply to the US for a Prior Notice approval; this can be done on line and is reasonably speedy. However, that’s the easy part. We also have to apply to the Irish SFPA (Sea Food Protection Authority) for a Health Certificate and a Certificate of Origin 48 hours before shipment. The inspector from the SFPA then has to visit us and physically inspect the Smoked Salmon and then issue us with 3 sheets of paper.

Apart from the infuriating delay in waiting 48 hours to get the paperwork, there is also the unbelievable cost factor of sending an inspector from the SFPA to inspect 1 kg of product with a value of €50.00; if it was a pallet or a container, then fair enough but for one small pack! Whilst we enjoy the visit of our inspectors, we do feel that their time would be better employed in more cost effective operations.

It is the “One Shoe Fits All” mentality of bureaucracy that persists in making life very difficult for small producers.

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Network West Cork with Krishna De

Last night many West Cork entrepreneurs gathered  for the third Network West Cork event at the Celtic Ross Hotel in Rosscarbery to listen to the highly respected and articulate social media marketing and branding expert,  Krishna De.

Ummera and the Celtic Ross Hotel were the nominated Business Box featured, so we each had 5 minutes to give a brief presentation! Initially, we were to come after the keynote speaker, Krishna De, which would have been a hard act to follow, but happily at Krishna’s request, we were the first to go! We could then relax and  learn much from Krishna’s pearls of wisdom!

I did make a special offer to those attending the meeting, so if you are reading this and were there, remember you will have to subscribe to our Newsletter or join us on Twitter (@ummera) to take advantage of it!!!

If you are really adventurous, come and Wave at [email protected]!

It was a great surprise when I got back home to see that Krishna had posted to her blog during the evening, and I was much encouraged by her comments!

So what else can I say but introduce you to Krishna’s blog page!

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New Newsletter and a warning!

Ummera has been a bit distracted since our last post!

We have been caught up in exploring and trying to understand the most recent addictive substance – Twitter!
If you have no idea what Twitter is, then we suggest you dive into www.twitter.com/ummera and have a quick look.

However,  you have been warned!

 

Yesterday, our new Newsletter hit the streets – or rather the cyber highway.
And how remarkable!

From the moment we pushed the send button, details of who had received it, who had opened it, where they went too, when they clicked on a link – all this was available to us during the day!

If you haven’t received a copy of the Newsletter you can join by clicking here. It is an Opt-In list, with a two-stage registration process  – but very simple and quite painless!

One of the interesting things we have been able to do with the mailing list is to ask people on the list to check out their own Preference Control Center; here you can indicate where you come from, what products of ours you are interested in, if you are a private or trade customer; this will enable us to tailor-make future e-mails to your specific interests. All new subscribers will automatically be asked to complete their profile, but if you have received our newsletter and would like to amend your details, please click on the Preference link at the head of your last newsletter.

We have a little offer coming out within the next couple of days – just in time for St. Patrick’s Day and Mothers Day.

But you’ll only know about if you susbscribe to the Newsletter, this weblog or Twitter!

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Great marketing – yes!

On December 1st last, we commenced dealing with UPS as our preferred courier for shipping our smoked salmon around the world. It is hard to change suppliers, especially days before our really busy time began, but the price difference between our existing courier and UPS was too great for us to ignore; our customers were delighted with the savings which we passed on in full.

Fortunately, the service worked exceptionally well with only a couple of problems which are, however much one tries, inevitable.

Well, one month on, and UPS and ourselves are still on good terms; I even received a card in the post from them last week. Very clever card…. as the pictures above and below show! 

I was impressed at least – and as the customer that’t what counts! I think that Seth Godin would also be impressed!

Thanks Tom, Kevin, Billy, Pat, John and Dennis for a providing a service that did what it said it would do!

Anthony

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Terra Madre on Nationwide

RTE have done Slow Food‘s Terra Madre Ireland event proud with tonight’s edition of Nationwide.

Some good footage captured  the atmosphere surrounding those four days last week in Waterford. It was a pity that they didn’t show some footage of the working sessions on the Friday which encapsulated the real meaning of Terra Madre, where people of many different walks and perspectives met to discuss and propose some answers to the way which we, the producers, and you, the co-producers, should be going forward.

Have a look at the Terra Madre web site for further details of the four days and do contribute to some of the Forum’s threads. As a co-producer, your voice is just as important as the producers.

And if you want to do something really special at the end of October, head out to Turin for Salone del Gusto.