THE Chairman of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board has praised the organisers and sponsors of the Richhill Harvest Apple Fayre for creating an event which shows food tourism is increasingly important to our economic growth.
Dr Howard Hastings OBE, said the Richhill Apple Harvest Fayre which celebrates the Bramley Apple, allows the people of Armagh to unlock authentic stories about the county’s heritage, culture and traditions.
The event which will take place on Saturday (October 25) is an authentic celebration of Armagh’s distinctive local food and drink and celebrates the Armagh Bramley which achieved PGI status in 2012.
Speaking ahead of the event, Dr Hastings OBE said: “This event allows the people of Armagh and beyond to reconnect with our land and to celebrate what our land produces. The Bramley Apple has got PGI status for a reason and we have to enjoy our produce so full praise goes to the organisers and sponsors for making this fayre happen.
“Events like this allow us to unlock the stories of our land and also stories about the people who work on the land. Celebrating this gives us a huge sense of civic pride and boosts our self confidence as to what can be achieved. It also gives a message to the rest of the world that we are proud of who we are and what we can produce here in Northern Ireland.”
The fayre, which is sponsored by Irwin’s Bakery, Wilsons Country and Gilfresh, features cookery demonstrations, apple peeling contests, an Armagh Bramley apple tart competition, music from local school choirs, a hog roast and tea dance.
Brian Irwin, of Irwin’s Bakery, a bakery which has been part of the Portadown community since 1912, said: “As Dr Hastings has said, celebrating Co Armagh is very important. The Richhill Apple Harvest Fayre will be a fantastic fun day out for the family and is a great message to the rest of the world that we are proud of what we produce.”
Angus Wilson, started Wilsons Country from the family farm in 1980s, said: “To have an event in Co Armagh celebrating produce from Armagh, with people from Armagh, is fantastic. We are delighted to help showcase the fruits of our labour and be part of an event which we hope is the first of an annual event in our calendars.”
Thomas Gilpin, of Gilfresh, a family run company in Loughgall which was established over 50 years ago, said: “We are all local producers supporting each other and supporting our communities. We all have a close working relationship. It’s all about local businesses supporting local businesses and local events.”
The event is free to attend and runs from 10am-6pm.