In the twelve months that I spent in New Zealand, most weekends of which were involved in exploring a variety of markets, there seems to have been a mushrooming of farmers’ markets in Ireland. Or maybe it’s that I’m more aware of it now! Last Saturday, after just two days in the country, and my mother suggested that we go to the Fermoy Farmers’ Market. Although we only had the directions “it’s down by the river” – and there are four sides to the river in Fermoy – we didn’t have too much difficulty in finding the place where the stallholders had set up shop and plunged in.
It was a small market, just ten stalls but, as my little brother pointed out, we bought from eight of them. Amidst my jet lag and travel tiredness I didn’t get anyone’s names but I did enjoy chatting to many of the stallholders and I came away with some fabulous produce. Quality, rather than quantity, seems to be the key in this small but well-appointed market.
Sweet things – with a good try-before-you-buy policy, we purchased a couple of glorious chunky Mud Biscuits, a few Italian biscuits, pieces of an Oaty Apricot Crunch, Cheesecake and Lemon Slice. All fresh, homemade and very reasonable.
Cheese – a piece of young Cáis Dubh for the little brother and a chunk of the same, except more intensely mature, for myself from the lovely lady at Fermoy Natural Cheeses.
Bread – a sundried tomato loaf and a lovely big loaf of Brown Soda Bread.
Eggs – you can’t go wrong with a dozen free range eggs for €3.
Plants – organically grown Welsh onions and flat leaf parsley from a very interesting man with plenty of knowledge to share.
Fruit and vegetables – bags and bags worth, although I don’t think that they actually grow any pineapples around the Fermoy area!
Marmalade – a bitter sugar-free orange marmalade.
Sausages and pudding – this stall had a variety of sausages so we bought a pair of each. They looked distinctively different when raw but when we cooked them that night it not so easy to distinguish the Cumberland from the garlic and herb. All tasty, though, and the portion of black and white pudding that we bought was especially good. I’ve been missing decent black pudding over the last year.