While the morning may have been clear and cool, with early arrivals dressed in fleeces and jeans, by lunchtime at the Terra Madre Farmers’ Market in Waterford it was strappy frocks and sandals all the way as the crowds took to the streets in the sunshine. Stalls stretched up and down John Roberts Square, taking off into the side streets when they ran out of room. We arrived early, as the stallholders were setting up, and went in search of coffee but to no avail. Where are Cork Coffee Roasters when you need them?!
Desperate, I grabbed a cup of instant from the Coolanowle Organics stall, while the Husband decided that his breakfast was to be one of their large organic sausages in a roll. I didn’t get to see much of that before it – and he – disappeared. He headed to the beach to enjoy the sunshine while I wandered around, bumping into Ballymaloe classmates and fellow foodies. I grabbed a handful of sweet, ripe cherry tomatoes from Rupert Hugh-Jones’s Ballycotton Organics stall, before hitting pay-dirt at the eye-catching Cookie Jar stall nearby. American by birth and now based near Clonmel, Cate McCarthy makes the kind of homemade cookies that kids adore. Giant, five-inch Chocolate Chip, Oatmeal Raisin (my choice!) or Monster Cookies were sitting temptingly in the jars on the table, alongside her Boston Brownies and slices of New York Style Cheesecake. An enthuastic Richard Auler was handing out samples of his meaty organic beefburgers, made on the Ladybird Organic Farm near Cahir, Co Tipperary, along with plenty of information on the value of organic growing and their dry-aged Angus beef.
I headed straight to the well-stocked Gubbeen stall to pick up food for a market supper at home – a slice of chicken and lemon terrine, Gubbeen cheese crackers, chunks of Gubbeen cheese and chorizo – along with a chunk of smoked ham for the freezer and a catering pack of their streaky bacon, ready for chopping up into lardons to flavour autumnal soups and stews. I also stopped at the Ardsallagh stall to pick up one of Jane Murphy’s pepper-coated soft goat’s cheese from her colourful selection.
I missed out on the blaas – a white, floury bap that is a unique Waterford speciality – at Barron’s Bakery but managed to get my fix at the Irish Country Markets marquee in Jenkins Lane Car Park, where they were serving brunch in a blaa, complete with rocket (important to get the greens in there) rasher, sausage, black pudding, fried egg and relish. A quick stop at the well-laden Malone Fruit Farm table to grab a bottle of their homemade blackcurrant cordial and it was time to go. The Husband was back from the beach, people were settling down around the big screen in the square to watch the match and I couldn’t carry or eat much more food!
More reports of the weekend, including reports from the conference and workshops, will be online at the Terra Madre website.