Inaugural Bandon Farmer's Market a huge success

I’m delighted to report that the first Farmer’s Market in Bandon was a resounding success despite the awful weather. I’m already looking forward to next months and I hope they consider moving it to every week if the crowds hold up.

First off, apologies for the shockingly bad quality of the photos. I have the aesthetic eye of a blind person.

I headed up initially just after 10am with two of the kids. But the skies had opened and it was horrible. Some brave souls had ventured out but it was still pretty quiet at that stage.

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Neither kid was exactly impressed and Osc announced at the top of his voice that he wanted to go to a supermarket. Git. I headed back home for an hour to dump them and wait for better weather. Luckily it did improve and I arrived back a bit after 11am. It was mobbed and I was thrilled.

I kicked off with a mango tango smoothie from this stall.

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There were some very nice pies and pasties being sold here. I thought the pies were a bit overpriced for the size but the pasties at €3 were spot on. I had one later for my lunch and it was excellent.

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Then on to an interesting stall, the Vegetarian Smokehouse. I tried a few of the things on offer and ended up going for a three for a tenner deal. The smoked salsa was yum, the smoked hummous too but the jury is still out on the smoked olives.

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There was some nice fruit and veg here but I didn’t get anything this time.

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I spotted a sausage stall and raced over. It turned out to be one of the two great butchers in Bandon, Martin Carey. I went for the South African thingy and some Italian Fennel sausage. I do hope that Dan Moloney (the other excellent butcher in town) considers doing a stall with extra-long-aged premium beef, I think he would do a roaring trade.

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I moved on to Frank Krawczyk’s stall. Some day I will learn how to pronounce his surname. I had some of his salami in Boqueria Tapas last week and told him so. He told me all about his various salamis and kassler and I tried the lot. All were completely fantastic and I bought some of everything.

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We also talked about chorizo. He does make some but was sold out and told me that it is his own particular twist on chorizo. We agreed that there was no point in creating some sort of facsimilie of a product from somewhere else, Irish artisan products should be unique even if they start as derivations of things from elsewhere.

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Then the conversation moved to cheese and all the great producers in West Cork and how each of them has created something related to other cheeses but completely unique too. The people who created Milleens seem to have been the catalyst for much of the West Cork cheese business. I had never tasted it.

But the very next stall I visited was the Urru one. Ruth, the owner was very involved in kicking off the market and had a range of cheeses, treats and coffees on display. And happily for me, she had Milleens which I bought along with some Cork Coffee Roasters coffee which they were sampling.

When I got home I tried the Milleens which didn’t really have a strong flavour. I then tried Frank’s Kassler which was very strong. Then I put the two of them together. A match made in heaven. Tomorrow will see me have a ham n cheese sambo like no other. IMG_2296

There was a lovely selection of herbs to eat and grow on this stall. I will definitely buy some the next time.

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I had a good chat with Anthony on the Ummera stand. They had their full selection of smoked products on display and they were flying off the stall. Bandon and Kinsale are the two markets that Ummera are focused on right now and both towns are the better for it. I would encourage you all to check out his blog at Wordpress.com and post some comments. IMG_2289

I headed up to the very tasty looking confectionary stall to get a few treats. It turned out to be Gwen’s Chocolates from Schull. They had a lovely selection of individual chocolates and boxed ones too. I got a small bag of em to share at home with d’wife.

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Midday arrived and the Market was officailly opened by Mayor Don McCarthy and the creator of the Bridgestone Guides, John McKenna. John had some very apt words to say about food miles and seemed to be genuinely excited to see the launch of a new market.

I think Mayor Don’s day job is the running of the Riverview Shopping Centre. I think it would be a very useful exercise for him to check with all of the shops in Riverview to see if their business went up today. I find it hard to believe that all those crowds were just locals having a gawk.

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The horrible weather ebbed and flowed all day but for the time I was there, the crowds persisted. Imagine if the weather had been good!

The only things I thought missing were [a] more farmers! and [b] someone doing good eggs and dairy. On that topic, I heard a wonderful podcast recently on the topic of raw milk in the US. It is banned in most states. What is the story here? Obviously there are raw milk cheeses, but can you buy non-pasteurised milk anywhere? I think maybe I had it straight from the cow once from my grand-aunt down in Adamstown in Wexford but that’s it. I wonder is there any demand for somehow “safety certified” but non-pasteurised milk in Ireland?

In any case, the next Bandon Farmer’s Market is on Saturday May 6th. It is well worth making the effort to check it out.

Finally, apologies to those stalls that I didn’t mention yet. There are plenty of interesting looking bread/cake vendors and preserves/relish vendors that I will get to the next time along with any others that have slipped my mind.

[tags]Bandon Farmers Market, Farmers Market, Artisan[/tags]

Conor O'Neill

Tech guy who likes running slowly

Bandon, Cork, Ireland http://conoroneill.com