Hi Ivan, Here is an update on the relocation of Clonakilty Market. Contact me if you have any questions.
Thanks for your support

Clonakilty Market
Every Friday (rain or shine)
(9am – 2pm)

As of Friday, 23 Oct 2009 Clonakilty Market, which has become a pleasant weekly feature of Clonakilty town life, will temporarily relocate to an area a short distance from where they have been trading since April 2009. The laneway, Recorders Alley, which connects Pearse Street to the Kent Street car park will be the temporary location for the Friday market.
The move follows the request by the council after a vote in August that traders vacate the Credit Union carpark. Since then the traders have investigated four possible temporary locations for the market. A lot of goodwill was expressed to rehouse the market and following meetings between Tommy O’Donovan of O’Donovans Hotel and market traders it was agreed that the proposed location would be most suitable.
Following the unanimous August vote which voted in favour a finding a suitable permantent location for the market, councillors and town officials will now proceed with their investigations. The current council fully supports the market and Mayor Anthony McDermott has stated publically that it is something that he would like to have fully resolved within the tenure of his mayorship. It is hoped that the process might take shorter than the 12 months as outlined by Town Hall officials at that meeting.

The market has enjoyed great success and public support since trading began in April. A wide range of goods on offer include locally grown organic produce, plants, flowers, oven baked pizzas, cheeses, breads, baking goods, dressings, meats, olives and much more. All vendors provide high quality foods, much of it organic, that have been grown, produced or sourced by small producers across the country. All are registered with the governing health agencies and the market currently provides employment for 30 people. Some of the fare on offer include:

Fruit & Vegetables
Mediterranean Fare
Gluten-free products
Fresh Flowers
Soups and Relishes
Local artisan produce
Chutneys and Pickles
Coffee and Teas
Smoked Fish
Thai Grill
and more

If you are interested in trading at the market please contact Gerald Kelleher at 087-6775600. All traders must be registered with their governing bodies. Spaces are now quite limited but the Market will operate a waiting list so please make contact if interested.



The Slow Food West Cork Annual Summer Picnic at Lough Hyne is on Sunday August 30th

A revival of the Somerville and Ross tradition of climbing up the hill overlooking Lough Hyne and enjoying a scrumptious picnic while gazing at the spectacular view!

Last year the rain prevented the climb, but we are assured that the skies will have stopped crying by the end of the month and this year we will enjoy the walk and the view.

The packed picnics this year are being prepared by Susan Fehily of the River Lane Cafe in Ballineen and full details and order form can be found on the West Cork page of the SlowFoodIreland website. Orders MUST be in by Wednesday August 26th/

We look forward to seeing you there!

West Cork Slow Food Convivium
Co. Cork

Web Site: http://www.slowfoodireland.com
Twitter: @SlowFoodIreland

The Big Lunch


Cork Food Web are organising a series of events around Cork City for The Big Lunch on July 19th. What is The Big Lunch? Imagine a summer’s day on which millions of us, throughout the UK and Ireland, sit down to have lunch together, with our neighbours in the middle of our streets, around our tower blocks and on every patch of common ground. The food, entertainment and decorations we will have either grown, cooked, or created ourselves. This will be a day to break bread with our neighbours, to put a smile on everyone’s face.


If you are interested in joining an event or organising one yourself click on the link above.

All the best,


Picnic at Gort na Nain

Gort-Na-Nain, Vegetarian Guesthouse & Organic Farm

Gort-Na-Nain, Vegetarian Guesthouse & Organic Farm

It’s really starting to feel like summer, this just in from Slow Food Cork City:

Hi all,
There are still some places left for the next event of Slow Food Cork City on Saturday 20th June, 11:30. This time, we are visiting Ultan Walsh at his organic vegetable farm followed by a picnic.

Ultan is well known in Cork as the main supplier for Cafe Paradiso and Jacobs on the Mall. He is such a good cook that some of his recipes appear in the latest cookbook of Denis Cotter – so we will be in for a treat.

If you are interested in joining, please contact Caz on ccslowfood@gmail.com to secure your space.

Hope to see you all on Saturday.


Can We Feed Ourselves?

Declan Martin of Waterfall Farms Ltd. Photo courtesy of Gerard McCarthy (www.germac.ie)

Declan Martin of Waterfall Farms Ltd. Photo courtesy of Gerard McCarthy (www.germac.ie)

I recently gave a short presentation on the topic of food security against the sobering historical backdrop of the National Famine Commemoration in Skibbereen. Could we ever see a situation again in which we failed to feed people? Having committed to giving the presentation I was forced to do some research and sift through what it might mean for West Cork. The result is a discomfort that continues to gnaw on my mind. The threats looming over our food supply this time are not disease and over dependence on potatoes nationally but climate change, overpopulation and the looming scarcity of oil globally. I don’t yet believe that we will struggle to acquire the calories we need to live, but the quality of what we eat will be radically affected. Our ability to feed ourselves and our families a balanced diet with fresh food, particularly fruit and vegetables, will be more and more dependent on income. Just as the potato famine hit a particular social class, so too will issues like obesity, heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers become increasingly associated with income. Even staples like wheat and rice are under serious threat. The vast majority of the cereals we eat arrive to us from drought affected areas like central USA, northern China, central Europe and Australia. Countries like China and South Korea are running out of arable land and water, and have already started a global land grab, buying up millions of hectares for growing in countries like the Philippines and Madagascar.

My first question in exploring food security is how successfully are we feeding ourselves at the moment? Not very well, is the answer, in fact 96% of our farmland in Ireland is devoted to feeding animals not people – 80% is under grass and 16% produces fodder crops. Yes, that gives us meat and dairy products, but it is generally accepted that we should get 75% or more of our diet from plant based foods – cereals, vegetables and fruit. We don’t produce these in anything like the quantities we need. Our most valuable vegetable crop is the white mushroom – near tasteless and not required in large volumes for a healthy diet. In reality, it is the supermarkets that feed the vast majority of Irish people, not our farmers. And of course there is a reason for that. Supermarkets do a very good job of stocking a continuous variety of fresh food at affordable prices. They buy in volume to keep the price down and they have immense distributions systems to source food from all over the world and so ensure continuity, so far. The result is that they also very successful in deciding what gets grown by our farmers. Last month 30 potato growers stormed a Tesco managers meeting in Ashbourne, Co. Meath, angry that their produce is being displaced by British potatoes. We can be fairly certain that despite the determination of these growers to address the situation and stand up to the supermarket, unless they have another route to market they are likely to plant less for us to eat next year.

We were delighted to welcome the Minister for Horticulture, Trevor Sargent TD, to our offices in Clonakilty last month, and I put it to him that we needed a horticultural revolution if we are to seriously address food security. Whilst he agreed with the need, he sees the supermarkets as a major stumbling block in expanding output. The growers, he says, are in hock to the supermarket buyers. He has feedback that horticulture grants attained by growers to help improve their efficiency and expand the sector are quickly followed by phonecalls from buyers asking them to drop their prices further now that they have the grant. There is only one winner in this system. Although we are lucky enough to have some notable exceptions in West Cork, there are very few supermarkets around that do not exploit this inequality in the buying relationship. We need more locally owned independently minded stores that will actively foster smaller local growers.

The irony is that just as the famine destroyed not just the landless, labouring class but also bankrupted many of the landlord class, so too will food and oil scarcities hit not just the poor in our society, they may also collapse the supermarket empires which are so dependent on oil. If they can’t provide cheap, fresh food their proposition becomes less compelling, especially if we have to travel further and further to reach our nearest supermarket. The latest Tesco Extra stores have extended the expected customer travel radius from 20 miles up to 30. Within the next few months we will witness a savage price war among the multiples – there is huge overcapacity, the growth in the number and size of supermarkets in the last 5 years has far outstripped population growth and has resulted in more shelf space that we can support. There will be closures within the next 12 months.

If we are to develop a food supply system that can feed us fresh food at affordable prices, we need to develop alternatives to the supermarkets that can compete alongside them. These alternatives need to provide markets for local growers. I spoke to Declan Martin at Waterfall Farms near Cork for a first hand account. Declan and Rosemary Martin and their two sons, Nigel and Trevor, run a vegetable farm of about 100 acres. The Martins were forced to diversify in 1998 when after 16 years supplying one of the major multiples with fresh veg they were given 3 weeks notice of termination. With a staff of twelve to whom they felt a commitment and crops in the field they quickly needed a new route to market and decided to get into selling prepared vegetables for the catering trade. They now process their own veg (40%) and buy in other vegetables from local growers and imports to offer a full service to their customers. I asked Declan how we could get more commercial growers and he explained to me that vegetable growing has come to be viewed by farmers in Cork as a very risky business. “When Cork Veg went bust in the late 90s, a lot of local growers got hit very hard. That was really the start of the decline of vegetable growing in Cork. Cork Veg was a wholesaling operation owned by a producer group, it was supplying Tesco through central distribution in Dublin. This was our doorway to the rest of the country and we were lucky that Musgraves had located their central distribution in Cork. But as more and more Cork growers disappeared after the Cork Veg bust, we saw that Musgraves now found it easier to get the scale and range they wanted from Dublin growers, a double whammy. Even for our own business now, we want to buy as much as we can locally, but there is a very limited pool of growers.” Declan was there to meet Trevor Sargent with us and was greatly encouraged by the policy of the Greens, “They are thinking just like us, local veg for local people has always been our approach.”

The Greens are particularly strong in backing the grow your own movement and launched the Get Ireland Growing campaign in March – see http://www.getirelandgrowing.ie. As a movement “Grow Your Own” is really gathering momentum and was greatly helped to move into the mainstream by Corrigan’s City Farm. Even the Obamas have dug up some of the White House lawn for their “Victory Garden” (smug note: Mary McAleese has grown veg and even kept hens at the Áras for years now). The term “Victory Garden” refers to the wartime and post war dig for victory movement in Britain, when the country managed to grow 40% of its food in back gardens and allotments. Almost every town in West Cork has plans to develop allotment gardens, with Bantry leading the way, being recently joined by Bandon. You’ll hear more about this here because I have signed up for one myself and will be getting going next Spring. I know that food security is not the primary motivation for most people to get growing, there are much immediate rewards to do with wellness, learning and enjoyment. But grow your own could be the basis of the revolution we need in horticulture, creating demand for local veg to supplement our own produce and skills for local growing that may turn commercial. So, can we feed ourselves? I hear the rallying Obama chant of “Yes we can” but I’d have to add, not yet.

Stumble It!

pringlesBritain’s Court of Appeal ruled that, contrary to the argument of their maker, Procter & Gamble, Pringles contain enough potato to be defined as crisps (chips), and are therefore not exempt from value-added tax. What else is in there then? More…

Last years winners of ‘A Taste of West Cork Schools Cookery Competition’, Ellen O’Regan & Pearse O’Flynn from Schull Community College have just sent us this account of their prizewinning trip to Neven Maguire’s MacNean House & Restaurant:

neven & grace inehanOn Wednesday, 13th May 2009 we travelled the seven hour journey to Blacklion, Co. Cavan with our Home Economics teacher, Ms. Grace Linehan. We were welcomed at MacNean House & Restaurant, in Neven’s absence, by his uncle Frank and local lady Sheila. Neven and most of his staff were at the Irish Restaurant Awards ceremony at The Burlington Hotel in Dublin. We relaxed for an hour in the lovely surroundings of MacNean House before we sat down to a delicious meal prepared specially for us by Chef Vicky. We had the restaurant to ourselves that evening.

After nine o’clock breakfast next morning we were told of Neven’s successful night in Dublin. He picked up six awards including the coveted All Ireland Best Chef and Best Celebrity Chef awards.

Before meeting Neven in the kitchen, we had a few hours off which we spent at Enniskillen Shopping Centre just fifteen minutes away. At one o’clock we were back at MacNean House to meet up with Neven. Before getting down to work in the kitchen he spoke briefly about the awards ceremony the previous night and gave us the history of MacNean House.neven in kitchen with shane and ellen   He introduced us to his chefs, kitchen staff and his enthusiastic, three year old nephew who obviously adores Neven as he was dressed in full chef’s outfit and wanted to cook with Neven. Then it was time to put on our aprons and set to work. Neven showed us how to make spring rolls, chocolate tart, roast pineapple, pineapple chutney, chili jam and how to spin sugar into baskets and other designs. He also showed us cooking techniques such dicing and how to roll pastry correctly. Meanwhile he made us a lovely chicken curry for lunch while at the same time we watched as he set about preparing dinner for guests later that night.

After lunch we presented Neven with a hamper made up of West Cork produce, generously sponsored by: Irish Yoghurts, Glenilen Farm, Gubbeen Cheese, Bantry Bay Seafood, Union Hall Smoked Fish, Clonakilty Black Pudding, Skeaghanore Duck, Durrus Cheese, Sally Barnes Smoked Fish, Desmond/Gabriel Cheese and FollainTeo.Neven presented with West Cork Food Hamper

At 6.30 p.m., before the pièce de resistance (8 course dinner in MacNean House, prepared by Neven) we watched from the kitchen while table service began. It was interesting to see how smoothly things ran in such a busy kitchen and celebrity chef Neven wasn’t at all like other t.v. chefs who seem to shout at their staff all the time.

Dinner was an exceptional dining experience from beginning to end. Starter included Trio of Goat’s Cheese, Assiette of Rabbit or Seared Sea Scallops, to name just three. This was followed by Carrot & Coconut Soup with smoked ham Hock Ravioli and Passion Fruit Jelly. Main course included Assiette of Irish Beef, Rare Breed Pork Plate or Trio of Turbot, all with delicious accompaniments. A wonderful selection of deserts was preceded by ‘pre-desert’ of Tiramisu with popping Candy! Tea or coffee was accompanied by MacNean House petit fours.

The presentation of each dish was truly amazing and the wonderful combination of flavours and textures made it a dining experience we will never forget.

Next morning after a delicious breakfast, Neven invited us to join him on a visit to his producers but unfortunately as we had a long journey ahead this wasn’t possible. Before we left, Neven kindly presented us with a signed copy of his new cook book and again invited us back to MacNean House to complete our Transition Year work experience. We are very much looking forward to it.

Ellen O’Regan & Pearse O’Flynn

3rd Year students Schull Community College


It's not just for breakfast either! Blackpudding with Strawberries and Balsamic Vinegar at the Emmet Hotel

It's not just for breakfast either! Blackpudding with Strawberries and Balsamic Vinegar at the Emmet Hotel

Despite our acclaimed cheeses, seafood, preserves and other artisan foods, traditional black pudding is the food product most associated with West Cork. I know this because we at the Fuchsia Brand do fairly regular surveys to gather information from visitors and shoppers about brands and foods they associate with West Cork and Clonakilty Black Pudding comes to mind most frequently. But I suspect that many people’s experience of West Cork black puddings stops there. Does this matter, I wondered? Are all puddings much the same anyway? This week, with the help of my 7 colleagues I set out to fill in a few more of the blanks on my culinary map of West Cork. We tasted 5 local puddings all of which are made with fresh blood. This was our first such office tasting session and I was quite surprised at the enthusiasm with which my colleagues devoured the plates of lightly fried black pudding, each keeping one hand free to scribble notes on the tasting sheets. I had thought that asking people to eat 5 pieces of black pudding unaccompanied would be a strain, but in fact they would have eaten more. Like wine tasters who don’t spit, a few of my colleagues were later to rue their over enthusiasm and will perhaps feel less compelled to eat every morsel next time. Black pudding in West Cork is made with blood from either pork or beef, minced meat trimmings, pinhead oatmeal, onions and spices. The oatmeal is left to steep in the blood before the other ingredients are mixed in. It is then filled into casings and boiled gently for 20-30 minutes until is has firmed up sufficiently. Cooking requires careful judgement, overcook it and you end up with a pot of mush. The blood firms up fully as the pudding cools. Unfortunately, nowadays almost all of the black puddings on the supermarket shelves in Ireland are made with reconstituted powdered blood rather than fresh blood, generally sourced from Holland, this can result in a grainy, crumbly texture. The fresh blood has a better aroma when cooked and a firmer texture. Butchers puddings are ususally made from beef blood because they do not slaughter very many pigs. Sheeps blood can also be used. Amongst the 5 we tested, Stautons and Rosscarbery Recipes use pig’s blood. Of course, black pudding is not unique to Ireland, but appears in different forms all across Europe. It is one of the oldest known cooked foods and t is believed to have been invented by the Celts. Black pudding or blood sausage can rightly be called a heritage food for the manner in which distinct and well respected regional variations have survived. In Germany it is called blutwurst and is often served with mashed potato. In parts of Germany it can be made with horse meat. In Spain it is called morcilla and can include other fillers such as rice, breadcrumbs, pine nuts, almonds. There is even a sweet morcilla from Galicia in the northwestern region, which is fried and served most commonly as a dessert. French black pudding is called boudin and the Confrérie des Chevaliers du Goûte Boudin (Brotherhood of the Knights of Blood Sausage) in Mortagne-au-Perche, Normandy holds a annual contest of international blood sausage specialities.


Rosscarbery Recipes

This is the newest of the puddings we sampled and its creation is a very positive indication that the decline in fresh blood puddings can be reversed. Made by Willie and Avril Allshire of Caherbeg Free Range Pork, Rosscarbery, this pudding was best of the Irish entries at the aforementioned International Black Pudding Competition in France this year. It has a lower oatmeal content than the other four resulting in a softer texture. The flavour is full and well balanced with the meat holding its own against the salt and spices. This pudding is sold in plastic wrapped chubs and when cooked without its casing holds together well. Rosscarbery Recipes is sold in quite a number of supermarkets and butcher shops.

Ml O’Neill & Sons, Clonakilty

O’Neill’s black pudding is sold only from their butcher shop in Clonakilty and is probably the longest in existence among the five we sampled, having been created by Mike’s grandfather. Mike still buys his spice mix from a descendant of the man who used to work for his grandfather and made the original puddings. O’Neill’s is made in the traditional rings and packed in natural casing. It was the only pudding we sampled that is cooked in the casing, which some people enjoyed chewing on to savour the lasting flavour. It has a fairly open, coarse texture though it did not threaten to crumble during cooking. Although the pudding was quite salty, it was the clear favorite amongst my colleagues, none of whom had eaten it before but most of whom will now seek it out.

Collins Brothers, Dunmanway

If you haven’t tried this pudding before the first thing that strikes you is the size, being considerably wider than the traditional rings or the chubs made by most commercial manufacturers. Produced by James and PJ Collins pudding is made in a large size only – c.2 inches across and 18 inches long, and is packed in a plastic casing. It is sold in slices, either vacuum packed or freshly cut. James told me that their recipe was adapted from the process used by their mother at home – “At that time every house used to kill a pig and making the pudding was part of that. It was for home use but we knew how to make it then when we started the butcher shop. One thing that has helped a lot is the hollow tube knife for extracting the blood – it’s a very clean and contained process now.” The introduction of the hollow tube knife that James refers to has put the production of fresh blood puddings on a much sounder footing with the regulatory authorities and appears to significantly reduced the threat of losing this part of our food heritage.

Dan Maloney Meat Centre, Bandon

Another large diameter pudding, this one had distinctly more chew than the others owing both to the meat and the higher oat content. I’ve eaten this a few times recently as part of my weekend fry and have come to appreciate the balance it brings to a plate already overloaded with salty, fatty pork products. Dan told me that they launched their pudding 15 years ago at the Bandon Show and that the man who makes it learned his trade in Clonakilty. I found this a common feature among the butchers I spoke to and probably accounts for the high degree of similarity in West Cork puddings. There is usually one person employed for the task and he will have developed his skill elsewhere, the result is a high degree of cross fertilisation and consistency.

Stauntons, Timoleague

Although it is produced in a large, modern meat factory, Stauton’s pudding is made in exactly the same way as the others we sampled and is quite a separate process to main production activity at the plant. The growth in demand for their pudding from supermarkets was actually the main reason Michael Staunton closed his butcher shop in 1985 to establish a dedicated manufacturing and slaughtering plant. Fresh blood pudding making, is a tight process in terms of handling the blood and meat and is very much tied with the killing of pigs. Stauntons could not have grown the pudding sales without this new facility. The business is now wholly owned by Barryroe Co-Op who took a majority shareholding in 1998, but the puddings are still made almost exclusively by Donie O’Callaghan who started with Michael Staunton in 1967. “These puddings have stood the test if time. Nothing has changed apart from some larger machines, which make the job easier.” When I asked Donie about how Staunton’s compares with other puddings he told me that not surprisingly he doesn’t really eat any outside of work, where he’d “be nibbling away at a bit all the time.” The pudding we sampled is sold in a three pack with white and brown pudding also included. Stauntons puddings are also produced in traditional rings in natural casing. It has a nicely balanced flavour and aroma that should suit most palates.

By the way, I should have mentioned this before now but Declan Waugh and myself are presenting on food security and famine as part of the National Famine Commemoration Week in Skibbereen. Details below.

Food & The Famine

A set of presentations examining our ability to feed ourselves in extreme circumstances, both here in Ireland and around the globe. Declan Waugh from Partnership for Change will explore the impact of Climate Change on world famine and will present a number of projects that have set out to combat its effect. Ivan McCutcheon from West Cork Development Partnership will look at our ability to feed ourselves in Ireland in a crisis situation, asking for how many days we could stock the supermarket shelves with anything other than meat and dairy products. You will have an opportunity to taste the infamous Soyer’s soup (by all accounts a mis-guided 19th century Jamie Oliver) and consider what would we eat and cook on a euro a day. 

2.00-3.30pm at the Co-Action Centre. Attendants are asked to make a donation to the listed charities in lieu of their lunch (you will get soyers  soup & crackers).

CONTACT: 023 8834035 or charmaine@wcdp.ie

The main event in on Sunday – for details of the full programme go here: http://www.skibbheritage.com/Memorial_Programme.pdf