Normally they can be considered the “staple” of the shopping list, but sweet potatoes, butter and beef have shone in their own right in the latest Irish Writers’ Guild Food Awards for 2021 .
In a year that has seen a new appreciation for quality food and drink, this year’s IFWG Awards celebrate suppliers and producers who have successfully overcome the current challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The three products which particularly tickled the judges’ taste buds and which were selected in the Food Awards category were: Tom Durcan’s traditional spiced beef – based in the English market in Cork since 1985; Abernethy Butter, made in Dromara, Co Down, by Will and Alison Abernethy; and Ballymakenny Farm Irish Heritage and Specialty Potatoes, of Co Louth.
The IFWG Irish Drink Award went to Kate and Denis Dempsey of Kinsale Mead, which was the first Irish commercial mead in the country for 200 years when it was established in 2017.
Their award-winning, barrel-aged Merlot mead is made with Irish blackberries and cherries and is aged in Merlot barrels.
Another Cork company received the Outstanding Organization Award from the IFWG.
NeighbourFood – an online market where local producers can sell their produce – was started in Cork in 2018 by Jack Crotty and Martin Puncher. Since then, the group has established 40 different locations in Ireland and another 20 in the UK, each working with their own local suppliers.
Customers simply order where they want and pick up what they want on a designated day. Suppliers know in advance what is expected of them, so waste is minimal.
Since its creation, NeighbourFood has become an essential service for local producers and producers.
Demand for its services increased sharply over the past year, which means NeighbourFood has been able to offer more choices to customers who have wanted to do their part to shop locally during the pandemic.
The environmental award went to Kildare-based Ballymore Organics. It produces stone-ground wholemeal and plain flour, as well as wheat grains, porridge and semolina used in kitchens and restaurants across the country.
Marion Roeleveld of Killeen Farmhouse Cheese in Portumna, Galway won the Lifetime Achievement award. Ms Roeleveld’s products have been a staple on Irish menus and store shelves since it opened in 2004.
Finally, the Green-Schools Food & Biodiversity theme – an initiative to “increase awareness of the importance of native plants, animals and habitats, and increase the species richness in a locality” – won the IFWG Community award. Food.
“If this pandemic has any glimmer of hope, it is the light that has been shined on Ireland’s resourceful and innovative food producers who have risen to the challenge, giving back to communities and ensuring continued access to local produce. of the highest quality. produce, âsaid IFWG President Kristin Jensen.
âIt’s our way of recognizing their accomplishments and our way of saying well done and thank you. “