Euro-toques Ireland is the Irish branch of the European Community of Chefs and Cooks and two of the five Euro-toques food awards went to farmers in the Tipperary area who had added value to their produce.
The Apple Farm, Moorstown, Cahir, Co Tipperary, received an award for its range of apple and fruit varieties, juices and fruit produce.
The Traas family moved from the Netherlands to Ireland in the late 1960′s to grow fruit. The family had been growing fruit in Holland since the 1800′s, but because it was difficult to find new land suitable for fruit-growing, Willem and Ali Traas decided to make a move to Ireland.
The range of produce on sale at the farm is quite diverse with 60 varieties of apples of which about 15 types are available in the farm shop. Four varieties of strawberries, three of raspberry, four of cherry, three types of plums, and two of pears, compliment the range in the farm shop. Some of the farms strawberries are available as pick-your-own each summer.
Drumeen Organic Farm near Urlingford, on the Tipperary border was recognised for its Happy Heart organic rapeseed oil.
Kitty Colchester began producing the oil on her parent’s, Ben and Charlotte’s organic farm earlier this year. The Colchesters have a 200 acre organic holding with Angus cattle, sheep, poultry, turkeys, honey and some forestry.
They also grow their own feed, which is where the idea for the Happy Heart Oil originated. Having done some research into the nutritional benefits of rapeseed oil, Kitty started pressing, labelling and bottling earlier this year.
The product retails at between €5.50 and €6.00 for a 500ml container.
Speaking at the awards, Euro-toques Commissioner General Feargal O’Donnell urged the Irish Government to provide a safety net for small food producers. He said regulatory requirements and compliance costs were making many businesses uncompetitive and were a deterrent to the setting up of new food enterprises.
Minister for Food Trevor Sargent told the awards ceremony that he would continue to promote the cause of the local producer, and also a fair distribution of rewards, placing the protection of our environment and our long term food supply at the heart of all policy decisions.