For anyone who is interested in the relationship between food and farming in Ireland, the annual Euro-toques National Food Forum and Fair – entitled Reconnecting: Farming, Food & Rural Communities – will be taking place at Brooklodge Hotel in Macreddin Village, Co Wicklow on Sunday 2 September. On this year’s panel are Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Trevor Sargent; UK organic movement pioneer and champion Helen Browning; Gerry Scully, the programme manager for Rural Development with Teagasc; Irish Farmers Journal columnist and farmer Peter Young; and Ross Lewis, chef/proprietor of Chapter One Restaurant and Commissioner of Euro-toques Ireland.
Peter Young, together with his wife, Jenny, recently opened Castlefarm Shop, a farm shop in Co Kildare selling organic, homemade and homegrown food. I’ve been reading about their dairy farm’s conversion to organics and the work involved in running a weekly stall at a farmer’s market as documented in Jenny’s monthly column in Food & Wine Magazine. The farm shop definitely sounds like something to call into if you’re around the area – I’ve added it into the Kildare page of my Bridgestone Irish Food Guide for future reference!
The forum takes place from 11am to 1.30pm and, after a break so that delegates can visit the nearby market, an organic and wild food barbecue will take place at the chapel in the grounds of Brooklodge Hotel. Last year’s debate on food tourism in Ireland touched on many interesting points but it was all too short to fully discuss the issues raised. Still, it’s an event well worth going to – lots of conversation with opinionated people, new producers to discover in the market and some really wonderful food at the barbeque. The forum, market and barbeque, which includes champagne reception and wines, costs just €45. For more information and bookings contact Ruth Hegarty of Euro-toques Ireland at email@example.com.