Broughgammon Farm in Ballycastle and Hillstown Farm in Randalstown are the latest members of Food NI to join the Économusée group. This is an international network of artisans renowned for their excellence. The ÉCONOMUSÉE Craft Reach Northern Europe Project sees the combination of culture, craft and tourism as local artisans open their doors to visitors to watch them at work and learn about the heritage and traditions of their skill. Canada, Norway, Greenland, Iceland, The Faroe Islands, Sweden, Ireland and Northern Ireland are all partners involved in this initiative, which was developed in Québec. By March 2018 there will be 93 Économusée workshops across the 8 partner countries.
Each ÉCONOMUSÉE is carefully concocted to make your visit memorable. Whether it’s outside on the porch, inside the front doors, or woven through the garden, the reception area is where you meet the artisan or one of their helpers, and get oriented to their trade and to the working studio you’re about to explore.
The Cole family at Broughgammon Farm in Ballycastle, Co. Antrim describe themselves as “forward-thinking farmers”. Charlie Cole started producing goat kid meat in 2011 and has now progressed to supplying high-welfare raised veal and seasonal wild game. These ingredients make up the main protein elements in their very popular street food offerings to be found at events across the island of Ireland. They run Good Life courses and are keen environmentalists. There is a small farm-shop and butchery on site.
Hillstown Brewery in Randalstown, Co. Antrim has also joined the fold. Here you can see up close how this traditional working farm has diversified to meet Northern Ireland’s growing demand for artisan products including craft beer and Wagyu-style beef, fed with Hillstown’s own brews. You can try and buy produce from the brewery and farm at the café and farm shop complete with a red Massey Ferguson tractor on the roof.
Also recently welcomed into the fold is the Ursa Minor Bakehouse in Ballycastle. Founders Ciara and Dara O hArtghaile discovered delights like sourdough loaves and friands while living for a year in New Zealand. Both are self-taught bakers. Dara learned how to create sourdough by trial and experimentation until he felt he had mastered the craft. Ciara had been baking all her life at home with her family. She now specialises in sweet bakes, in particular her adored friands. Keen to keep the business on a sustainable scale, the finished products have very low transport miles and are exclusively available in this area of the north coast.
Broighter Gold rapeseed oil in Limavady, Co.Londonderry is the longest-standing member to be awarded Économusée status in Northern Ireland. It is a working family farm. Depending on the time of year you visit, you may see some of the fields being planted or harvested while you are there. One of the award-winning oils contains 24 carat gold to symbolise a hoard of gold found on the land.
More members are sure to follow.
If you are interested in Artisans at Work ÉCONOMUSÉE Northern Ireland, please contact Tiérna Mullan- firstname.lastname@example.org 028 2075 2100/07595413239 or Carole O’Kane- email@example.com 028 2075 2100/07595068174.
For more information on Northern Ireland Food and Drink producers visit www.nigoodfood.com