Eat Wexford map to promote county
MODEL County food is finally starting to get the recognition it deserves and Wexford Food Family are preparing to release a brochure entitled Eat Wexford featuring a food map of the county, highlighting its members' produce.
The brochure will show where the producers are located and where you can buy their products and which restaurants use them. Paula Ronan of Wexford Food Family said: 'We want to have something which is beautiful and something people will use. Members of the food family have just returned from a trip to a trade show in Italy where they have been spreading the word about the quality products on offer here.
Eight producers representing different food and beverage producers in the county travelled to Milan for an Expo of speciality food retailers and Ms Ronan said the trip was a great learning experience.
Wexford Food Family has 35 members including Danone, Drew Fox Brewing, Featherbed Farm ice cream and Irish Country Meats.
'I think we are punching above our weight nationally in Wexford because we have a great climate and great conditions for food.'
Ms Ronan founded Wexford Food Family with Neil Murphy of Glanbia having seen the potential to develop the Wexford brand, while working for Wexford companies.
With support from Wexford County Council the organisation grew to a point where there are now almost 40 members.
Wexford Food Family runs two major events every year, the Wexford Food Summit, which is industry based and provides advice, and the Feast of Wexford which is a showcase of the producer's products. Ms Ronan said the group aims to promote the area as the number one county for food nationally.
'We have amazing chefs like Billy Whitty and amazing producers. They are really helping to get Wexford food on the map. We're trying to get people to shout about our unsung heroes. There is a much greater interest in food these days and there is a growing realisation about how good local products are. Our food needs to be prioritised in its own right.'
Ms Ronan said the challenge many Wexford producers face is competing with the pricing at multiples.
'It is not always the case that the food is more expensive,' she said.
One of the food family members, Wexford Home Preserves, which is based in New Ross, recently won two awards in the Irish Quality Food Awards and one in Blas na hEireann and Wexford food is increasingly winning national accolades.
Meanwhile Ferns-based O'Neill's Dry Cure Bacon now have Bord Bia certification. The company has taken on seven new staff this year following success with a food academy initiative. Atlantis Seafood, Cleverman Beer and Naturally Cordial Wexford have also received awards recently.