Best of Irish recognised at guild awards
Derryvilla Blueberries, Clare Island Organic Salmon, and Carrigbyrne Farmhouse Cheese were winners of this year's Irish Food Writers Guild awards
9 March 2009
Derry Clarke of L’Ecrivain created another sumptuous menu this year to showcase the winners of the Irish Food Writers Guild Awards 2009. Now in their 15th year, the prestigious awards were presented to Derryvilla Blueberry Farm for its “excellent blueberries and innovative Blueberry Tonic”, to Marine Harvest Ireland for its Clare Island Organic Salmon, and to Carrigbyrne Farmhouse Cheese Company for its St Killian Irish Farmhouse Cheese.
In addition, Carrigbyrne Farmhouse Cheese Company also won the inaugural Environmental Award, in recognition of the company’s “exemplary practices” in both farming and cheese-making. Carrigbyrne was launched in County Wexford in 1982 by dairy farmers Patrick and Juliet Berridge. Its cheese has won international acclaim, including Best Irish Cheese at the 2007 World Cheese Awards, and it currently produces about 70 tonnes of cheese per year.
John Seager’s Derryvilla blueberries, from his Derryvilla Farm in Co Offaly, are naturally grown without the use of pesticides. Seager supplies his berries, blueberry tonic, and preserves directly to fruit traders and selected retailers, and sells also through his farm gate shop. Specifically recognised in the award, Derryvilla Blueberry Tonic is actually manufactured by other artisan producers, such as Con Trass of The Apple Farm, Clonmel, and has seen huge sales growth already.
Finally, Clare Island Organic Salmon is certified organic in Germany, France, Switzerland, Belgium and Ireland. Off the west coast of Ireland where the strength of the tidal exchange is crucial for developing lean flesh and firm muscle texture, Clare Island remains the only organic salmon farm in Ireland, and one of the largest farms, harvesting up to 80 tonnes per week.