Organic Certification for Professional organic producers, processors and distributors
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The Department of Agriculture, Food & The Marine offers a range of financial incentives to assist those interested in getting involved in organic production. In addition capital grants are available for the purchase of specific equipment
News | 03 Mar 2016
Real ‘super foods’ aren’t about fads or trends. The foods worth celebrating are about consistent quality, long-term sustainability, hard work and a massive dollop of passion, according to the chairperson of the Irish Food Writers’ Guild (IFWG), Aoife Carrigy, who was speaking at the 2016 IFWG Food Awards. Amongst the 2016 winners were Organic Trust licensees Rod & Julie Calder Potts of Highbank Organic Orchards and Ralph Haslam of Mossfield Organic Cheese - congratulations!
Six 2016 IFWG award winners have been announced, including the first-ever award for an Irish stout. In another first, the awards ceremony was hosted at the two-Michelin-star Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud, where industry luminaries gathered for a lunch prepared by chef and co-owner Guillaume Lebrun, who incorporated the winning produce into a special menu.
The 2016 IFWG Food Award winners are Wild Irish Foragers for its full range of products; Silver Darlings for its pickled herrings and Mossfield Organic Farm for its organic milk. White Gypsy Brewery received the Irish Drink Award for its Russian Imperial Stout; Joe Fitzmaurice of Riot Rye Bakehouse and Bread School was presented with a Special Contribution to Irish Food Award and this year’s Environmental Award went to Highbank Organic Orchards.
Organic Trust IFWG Winners!
Environmental Award: Rod and Julie Calder-Potts, Highbank Organic Orchards, Co. Kilkenny
Rod and Julie Calder-Potts of Highbank Organic Orchards won an IFWG Food Award in 2013 for their Irish Organic Orchard Syrup, which is made purely from apples with no added sugar or sweeteners and is grown, distilled and bottled on Highbank Farm. This year they are being presented with the Guild’s Environmental Award.
Originally planted by the family in 1969 to complement the former hop gardens, the orchards and farm were converted to organic production in 1994 with Organic Trust Ltd. This began the process of returning the farm to a more environmentally inclusive husbandry. Over time, they have added two small lakes, woodlands and various wildlife habitats. No chemicals are sprayed on the apples, while herbicides, chemical fertilisers and manure from animals fed on GM food are strictly avoided.
But the focus at Highbank is on maximising output as well as minimising input. A variety of apples are transformed into everything from organic apple juices and ciders to a range of apple-based spirits (Crystal Apple Gin, Organic Pink Flamingo Gin, Organic Apple Vodka, Organic Orchard Liqueur Brandey (sic) and a calvados-style Organic Orchard Spirit). Even the waste by-products from the distillery are put to good use, with the acetone going to Brooklodge Hotel in Co. Wicklow to be used as organic nail varnish remover. http://www.highbankorchards.com
Food Award: Mossfield Organic Milk: Ralph Haslam, Co. Offaly
Ralph Haslam of Mossfield Organic Farm is no stranger to the IFWG Food Awards, having received an award in 2007 for his excellent Mossfield cheese. This year it is his Mossfield Organic Milk that the Guild has chosen to recognise for its traditional full flavour and rich, creamy texture. Both are produced at the family farm at the foot of the Slieve Bloom Mountains, where the milk of 80 cows grazing on limestone pasture is also transformed into buttermilk and yoghurt. The farm and cheese-making facility is organically certified by Organic Trust Ltd.
After three decades of conventional farming, Ralph converted to organic methods in 1999. Today, he takes an unusually complex approach, reseeding individual fields with up to two dozen types of grasses and herbs depending on the soil’s requirements. This ‘organic-plus’ system encourages wonderful biodiversity, promotes the health of both soil and animals and produces a particularly rich-flavoured milk.
Unlike most commercially available milk, Mossfield milk is not standardised (skimmed) or homogenised to increase shelf life or to prevent the cream from separating. Instead, it is simply pasteurised and distributed nationwide in as fresh and natural a state as possible. http://www.mossfield.ie
We would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all worthy winners in the 2016 Irish Food Writers Guild Awards!