Show the love for our lo­cal food pro­duc­ers

Irish Independent - Farming - - PHOTO DIARY - CLAIRE FOX Email: farm­[email protected]­de­pen­dent.ie

FARMER’S daugh­ter Diane Master­son is ask­ing con­sumers to show some love for lo­cal Ir­ish agri-food pro­duce this Valentine’s Day, while also giv­ing back to char­ity.

Diane grew up on a dairy farm near En­nis­cor­thy in Co Wex­ford and is now liv­ing in Dublin, where she works in fi­nance. In re­cent times, she be­gan to no­tice that small pro­duc­ers were clos­ing down in Ire­land and feels that Ir­ish con­sumers were miss­ing the con­nec­tion be­tween food and farm­ing.

“Over the last few years, I re­alised that more and more lo­cally owned green­gro­cers and butch­ers were shut­ting their doors, and th­ese are the stores that tra­di­tion­ally stock pro­duce made by on-farm food busi­nesses,” says Diane.

Hav­ing al­ways had an ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the work that Ir­ish farm­ers do, Diane re­cently set up the Ir­ish Food Fam­ily cam­paign to pro­mote lo­cal prod­ucts.

Un­sure what the cam­paign’s first ac­tiv­ity would be, she got chat­ting to dairy farmer Peter Hynes who sug­gested she use the cam­paign as a way for peo­ple to do­nate to the Thomas Hayes Trust (Teac Tom).

“I re­ally wanted to get started on the cam­paign and I thought this would be a bril­liant way to do it, while rais­ing much-needed funds for Teac Tom’s Rear­ing to Go cam­paign.”

Diane de­cided to get in touch with lo­cal pro- duc­ers and fill the ham­pers with their pro­duce, which could then be pur­chased by con­sumers for €50 with all pro­ceeds go­ing to­wards the Rear­ing to Go cam­paign.

Moon­coin beet­root rel­ish, Bal­ly­makenny pota­toes, The Ap­ple Farm ap­ple juice, The Lit­tle Mill brown bread and Truly Ir­ish oat gra­nola are just some of the long list of prod­ucts in­cluded in the ham­per.

“I’ve been blown away by the re­sponse. So many pro­duc­ers have got­ten on board. It’s a great idea for a Valentine’s gift, too be­cause at the end of the day, who wants flow­ers, any­way?”

Teac Tom was set up by An­gela Hayes in re­mem­brance of her son who died by sui­cide in 2010. The char­ity pro­vides sup­port to in­di­vid­u­als and fam­i­lies af­fected by sui­cide or con­tem­plat­ing sui­cide.

Diane says she is glad the funds will be go­ing to such a wor­thy cause and is part of the Rear­ing to Go fundrais­ing cam­paign un­der way for the char­ity.

“Teac Tom doesn’t get any state fund­ing and they save peo­ple’s lives. One woman mes­saged me say­ing she bought a ham­per as her own son had died by sui­cide. It broke my heart,” says Diane.

If you are in­ter­ested in pur­chas­ing a ham­per email irish­food­fam­[email protected]

For more in­for­ma­tion on Teac Tom con­tact 056-7796592.

PHOTO: DE­NIS BOYLE

An­drew, An­drea and Emily Dean and Liam and Micheal O’Driscoll en­joy the an­nual plough­ing match in Kilbrit­tain, Co Cork.

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