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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!

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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Anyone speak Welsh?

Tonight at 9pm on the Welsh Language TV Channel, S4C, you can watch the first of a seven part series on a cookng competition which was filmed at Ballinacura Manor House, Kinsale last July.

Ummera and some other producers took part in a mini Farmer’s Market to welcome the contestants and to show just how brilliant the food products of West Cork are.

To quote from their website:

“To lift your spirits what could be better than some Irish ‘craic’! Yes the Emerald Isle awaits you – Welcome to Tigh Dudley!

But, before even contemplating Ireland, Llandrillo’s kitchen beckons where not only are the twelve given master classes by Dudley, Bryn and Llinos they also experience some wine tasting courtesy of Arwel from Gwinology, Mold. Amazing, unforgettable experiences for the twelve competitors out of whom only eight go to Ireland and only one can be crowned the champion of Tigh Dudley 2009!”

Check out their website: and it should be in English!!

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Networking day!

Yesterday, October 15th.,  started off with the Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) Networking event in the Ambassador Hotel in Cork; good to meet up with a number of County Cork restaurateurs and some of their suppliers. this was one of nine roadshows around Ireland in conjunction with Failte Ireland and Bord Bia.

A quick drive down to the Celtic Ross Hotel in Rosscarbery  for the monthly meeting of West Cork Open Coffee; having been alerted of speed traps it took slightly longer than expected!

For any readers of this in the West Cork area and are wondering what West Cork Open Coffee is all about I quote the following from Calvin Jones, one of the forces behind it:

“West Cork Open Coffee is an on-line and off-line group who enjoy regular meet ups in West Cork. We are mostly innovation and entrepreneurial people who work in or from home or in small businesses in the area.

“Micro enterprise is easy to overlook when it comes to investment and support from state agencies,” said Calvin Jones, a West Cork based freelance writer and core group member of Open Coffee West Cork. “They’re simply too small to register on the radar, and yet they have a disaproportionately beneficial impact on the local economy.

“If you look at the scope, diversity and ingenuity of very small businesses across Ireland, it’s simply staggering. I’m not sure if there is data out there, but I suspect that collectively, micro-enterprise contributes a significant chunk to the national economy. I’m convinced that the little guys, if properly nurtured and supported, can make a real difference,” he said.

Open Coffee West Cork is now attempting to do just that, harnessing the potential of independent enterprise throughout Ireland’s southwest, and providing a forum for interaction, innovation, collaboration and learning both through online and  regular off-line networking opportunities. Join now and help expand the network for yourself and everyone else.”

So if this fits you, then register your interest at WestCorkOpenCoffee.Com.

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The Butler’s Pantry Artisan Harvest

This Saturday, September 19th., we are taking part in celebrating the Artisan Harvest at two of the renowned Butler’s Pantry shops in Dublin.

I will be at their Monkstown shop at 1a Montpellier Place, Temple Hill, Blackrock from 11.30 to 2.00pm and then at the Sandycove shop (19 Sandycove Road, Sandycove) from 2.30pm to 4.30pm. There will also be tastings of our Award winning Smoked Salmon and our Smoked Chicken, not just at these two shops, but at all the Butler’s Pantry shops all day on Saturday.

Do call by and say hello!

If you can’t make it,  Butler’s Pantry have a lovely recipe for Ummera Organic Smoked Salmon with Orange Dressing and Avocado Pate . Try it!

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National Organic Awards – Ummera Highly Commended!

National Organic Award 2009

Last week we were invited to Dublin for lunch yesterday by Bord Bia to celebrate the National Organic Awards 2009. Unfortunately, we couldn’t make it so imagine our surprise (and delight) when we received a phone call from the Sunday Tribune congratulating us on our award!

Ummera’s Smoked Organic Salmon had received a Highly Commended in the Best Organic  Retail Product, coming second to Glenisk’s Organic Greek Style Natural Yoghurt.

The other Awards were:

Best Overall Product

Winner: Moon Shine Farmhouse Milk Company, Kelly’s Organics, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath

Best Organic Retail Product

Winner: Organic Greek Style Natural Yoghurt, Glenisk, Killeigh, Co. Offaly

Highly Commended: Irish Smoked Organic Salmon, Ummera Smoked Products Ltd, Timoleague, Co. Cork

Best Organic Local Product

Winner: Moon Shine Farmhouse Milk, Kelly’s Organics, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath

Highly Commended: Dark Choc Almond Cake, Organic Choice, Stillorgan, Co. Dublin

Best Organic Export Product

Winner: St Tola Goats Log Company, Inagh Farmhouse Cheese, Co. Clare

Highly Commended: Flahavans Organic Jumbo Oats 1kg, Flahavans, Co. Waterford

Best Organic New Product

Winner: Organic Gluten Free Real Wholegrain Bread Mix , Sowan’s Organic Bread mix, Dublin

Highly Commended: Original Steakhouse Company, Goodherdsmen, Cahir, Co. Tipperary

Best Organic Sustainable Product

Winner: Happy Heart Oil Rapeseed Oil, Drumeen Farm, Urlingford, Co. Kilkenny

Highly Commended: Organic Galloway Steakburger, Omega Beef Direct, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary

The independent judging panel chaired by Hugo Arnold, journalist and Food Consultant included Cian Doorley, Musgrave Retail Partners Ireland; Evan Doyle, Proprietor Brooklodge Wells and Spa; Darren Grant, Proprietor, The Organic Supermarket Blackrock, Co Dublin and Oliver Moore, journalist, researcher and organic blogger.

Today’s Awards took place on the first day of National Organic Week, which runs from the 14th – 20th September. “To celebrate organic producers, retailers and farmers markets nationwide will host over 50 events including cookery demonstrations; workshops; BBQs; farm walks and in store tastings” commented Teresa Brophy, Ireland Market Manager, Bord Bia. “It is an ideal opportunity for organic producers and processors to organise events at a national and local level to increase consumer awareness of locally produced organic food.”

Event highlights include Clodagh McKenna’s cookery demonstration at the Nano Nagle Centre, Co, Cork on Wednesday 16th; Women in Organic Horticultural Training (WOHT) training courses and seminars at the Organic Centre, Rossinver, Co. Leitrim on the 16th and the Organic Centre’s Annual Harvest Celebration on Thursday 17th. Jenny and Peter Young, Castlefarm Shop, Athy, Co. Kildare, will host an organic farm walk on Saturday 19th including vegetable harvesting and cookery demonstrations, whilst Peter Ward from Country Choice, Nenagh, Co. Tipperary is organising the annual Blas an Fhomhair organic lunch, also on the 19th. (Full list of events on the Bord Bia website)

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Farm to Fork Visit

The rain held off and somewhat belatedly a mini bus drove into the smokehouse yard yesterday afternoon.

A tour of the smokehouse, wetlands and vermicomposting unit ended with a tasting of a range of our smoked products including

  1. Smoked Silver Eel
  2. Smoked Organic  Salmon
  3. Organic Gravadlax
  4. Smoked Chicken

There were three other smoked meats for tasting at the end. They are not commercially available (as yet) but are part of our ongoing search for new and interesting products:

  1. Smoked Dry Cured Shoulder of organically reared pork – cured in July 2009. Still very “green” and moist, but most promising. Taste again in 6 months.
  2. Smoked Dry Cured Shoulder of free range Tamworth pork – cured in February 2008.  Full of flavour and showing all those characteristics of well matured meats from Italy and Spain
  3. Cold Smoked Ummera Salami – a blend of beef and pork meat, with herbs and spices.

A conversation then ensued with our two Gloucester Old Spots pigs, Ping and Pong, and the mini bus departed for its final destination, Poacher’s Inn in Bandon.

There is another Farm to Fork tour planned for August 27th.

Contact Ruth Healy at 023 8854731 or for details.

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Discover a World of Food in West Cork

West Cork is the driving force behind Ireland’s modern food revolution.  The earliest artisans of the region put the place on the culinary map over thirty years ago, and many more have joined in since. Slow food enthusiast and Good Food Ireland member Ruth Healy,  of Urru Culinary Store in Bandon, herself a driving force behind the support of local artisans, has put  together wonderful itinarary of touring, meeting local producers and enjoying their delicious offerings en route. The Farm to Fork Discovery Days, which take place on two dates in August, include a guided tour of various West Cork producers, sampling of wares, country walks, riverside picnics, cookery demonstration and a summer supper with wine, in fact, a real culinary experience to be learned from and enjoyed.

The day starts with a light breakfast at Urru in Bandon, a brief talk on the days events, and insight into what’s to come.  The group will then travel by mini bus to Drimoleague, in the heart of rural West Cork,  where dairy farmers Alan and Valerie Kingston at Glenilen will showcase their fabulous selection of cream, country butter, yogurts and desserts made from milk from their own herd.  The farm location is idyllic, and after seeing production and sampling, the group can take a short stroll through lovely countryside by the river, and even have a quick dip if desired, before moving on to the next port of call.

In Enniskeane, the Hollies Sustainable Centre is pioneering a ‘no dig’ market garden packed with produce sold at farmer’s markets in Clonakilty and Bandon. John Conway who works the garden with partner Selvi, will give a talk on this unique method of growing, and answer all those difficult questions! The group will also get an insight into achievable sustainable living which takes place in this small community.  The peace of the countryside here is beyond compare, and visitors always come away feeling calm and at one with the world.

As lunchtime beckons, it’s time to travel to nearby Ballineen village to enjoy a picnic from Good Food Ireland member Susan Fehily’s River Lane Café, to be enjoyed on the grass by the by the River Bandon just down the road. A short drive from here, Anthony Creswell’s award winning Ummera Smokehouse produces a variety of artisan specialities, including smoked organic Irish salmon, wild eel, smoked chicken and smoked bacon. His environmentally friendly smokehouse uses a vermi-composting unit to dispose of production waste and has a natural wetland for water waste.  The smokehouse is by the river Argideen, a few miles outside the seaside village of Timoleague, with its ruined abbey.

The last stop is Barry and Catherine McLoughlin’s Good Food Ireland restaurant, The Poacher’s Inn.  Barry is an expert fish chef who uses freshest fish and shellfish from the waters of the Atlantic, to create a vibrant menu full of local flavours. He will demonstrate a tasty summer evening supper, to be enjoyed with a glass of wine, as the group reflect on the day’s activities.  The world of West Cork food is just waiting to be discovered!

Bookings at: Urru Culinary Store 023-8854731, or Poacher’s Inn 023 8841159 for discovery days on Thursday 13th and 27th August, 9am-7pm. €125 per person Payment secures booking. What to Bring: Wear comfortable outdoor clothing & shoes .A flask of tea or coffee if you feel like it. Car can be parked at The Poacher’s Inn on Clonakilty Road. Picnic lunch served indoors  if weather dicates!

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Aga Local Life

Love Local Life in Cork

On Saturday 6th June, from 12pm to 4pm, the Aga shop in Cork is giving you the chance to enjoy mouth-watering local organic food! At the Aga Shop Cork’s Local Life day, they will have cookery demonstrations, recipe ideas, exclusive offers, competition to WIN a number of attractive prizes including 1 night bed and breakfast in the Penthouse Suite of the Clarion Hotel and dinner for two in the Boardwalk Bar Restaurant along with MUCH MORE……

Whether you have an Aga or not, we look forward to seeing you in-store!

Local Participants joining us in-store on the day include:
Sowan’s Organic Bread
O’Conaill’s Choclatiers
Just Food Organic Homemade Food
Jack McCarthy Butchers
Tony Farrell Woodturner
Ummera Smoked Products
Karwig Wines
Carraigline Farmhouse Cheese
Ahern Born Free Irish Organic Chicken’s

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Pork Fudge

The Report on the Contamination of Irish Pork Products by the Irish Joint Committee on Agriculture, Fisheries and Food fails to find an answer to one intriguing question and struggles over the “proportionality of the response” issue.

Just how did the animal feed get contaminated? The Committee says:

“In this instance, the source of the contamination was contaminated oil operating a burner being used to dry bread prior to its inclusion in animal feed. In a way that is not at all clear to the Committee, exhaust fumes from the oil were allowed to blow over the feed material and thereby contaminate it with dioxin.”

It would appear that no one thought that contamination could be caused by this, and as such was never considered in any food safety issues at the plant where it occurred. The fact that inspections were a little erratic probably had little effect.

On the question of  “The proportionality of the response in dealing with the contamination incident”  the Committee found that in balance the FSAI acted correctly, given the inadequacies of the traceability system in place. They had little option but to say this, although they do raise the question as to why no other country put a recall in place and why, when high levels of PCB’s were reported in September and October in three other EU countries , was there no action taken before the FSAI took the “nuclear” option.

The report does highlight the plight of the artisan producers who could provide full traceability and who felt strongly that the total recall was unnecessary. Sadly it was an “all or nothing” choice and the Committee accepts that the traceability problems with respect to pork meant the recall was the best available option.”

The challenge of traceability within the pork industry is discussed and clearly this must be addressed in the near future. The processors do have challenges, but with the larger cuts of pork, legs, hams, and bacon full traceabilitycan be implemented quite easily; it is the meat used for sausages, salamis, pates etc that give the real problem. But other countries have solved it so ………

We have commented on these pages about the problem as it unfurled  (click on the Pork under  Categories on the right hand side for all our posts on this subject), and there is little in the report which is makes us want to change our comments.

The report can be downloaded from this link .    Be warned, although it is only 33 pages, it is 18 MB in size!