Last week the team at Goatsbridge Trout Farm attended the UK’s Food and Drink trade show at Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre (NEC)
A number of people in the fish and food marketing areas wondered why we would go to the expense and bother of the trip. We were even advised that we were wasting our time!
Richard Branson tells us to ‘Look, Listen and learn’ and if it works for the Virgin group it works for us at Goatsbridge trout. We went there to look, listen and learn. We wanted to get a different perspective on the wider European food industry. We had a plan. We had identified a number of people to talk to and some stands to view and some keynote speaker to listen to.
We listened to the industry speakers, spoke to the people we had targeted and others beside, visited the stands we wanted to and guess what – I have an Idea (of which more later!!)
On another matter – anyone know the identity of this person?
I think we have a new generation of Celebrity chiefs. None will compare with Darina Allen. She is a champion of local artisan food producers and a woman close to my heart.
I met her for the first time last year at the Harvest Festival in Dungarvan, Co. Waterford.She was busy and did not have time for a chat, much to my disappointment.I gave her ‘minder’ a packet of smoked trout to give to her later. Two days later I got a hand written letter from Darina thanking me for the” lovely treat” she had on her return home that evening.I could not believe it.! What a lady and she certainly had time for a chat a few months later when she graced us with her presence at my open day here on the farm in Goatsbridge.
Alas she is unable to come to the launch of our ‘Taste of Kilkenny ‘ food trail on April 19th.She will be greatly missed but she will be with us in spirit.!!May she continue to inspire for many years to come.
I love my husband dearly but boy are we different.!!People often ask what is it like to work with your spouse.Fantastic is the usual answer but I always have to clarify that statement.We are very different but this business need both parties on board. Time has thought us to clearly define our roles . Ger looks after operations and I look after everything else.
We meet in the office to discuss ongoing issues and try not to bring them up in bed at 11 o’clock at night.!!!
I know someone who works from home and who walks out her front door every morning, walks to the gate and returned to begin her working day. She does the same at night. Now I hear you say are all my friends so weird but it works for her in the same way I am mammy the minute I walk into my home which is beside my office.
Men are from Venus,Woman are from mars.!!!
One day after a night out my husband stepped out of his trousers and jumped into bed. He reminded me to put air in the right hand tire the following day. I lost my life when I noticed his pants having spent 15 minutes ironing the bloody thing. The following day we happen to be going out again and he wore his wrinkled pants which I refused to re iron. En route Ger exploded as I had failed to put air in the tire that day. Could I understand his frustration. No. We are so different but could I live without him . I dread to think.!!!
Did you know that rainbow trout were introduced into the UK from north America and the sea-going version in the USA are called ‘steel head’.The Americans were very proud of that fact when we went benchmarking in north Carolina last November.They told me everything good in Europe originated in America.!!!
Anyway to continue our life cycle.The eyed eggs shown in my previous blog have hatched.The time of hatching depends on the water temperature. an enzyme is secreted which softens the eggs shell and allows the alevin to break through.The alevin has retained its yoke sac and we sometimes refere to this as the SWIM-UP stage. We don’t feed as the alevin get its nutrients from the sac.I had a family who came for a visit yesterday and they were absolutely in awe.
I took this photograph this morning and it shows 2 alevin. it is quite hard to get a detailed photo and they are approximately 16mm.Another few weeks and they will loose their sac and require food. Very expensive food may I add. i just got word this morning that the food price will increase by €50/tonne which is very bad news indeed. Its a combination of fish meal/fish oil prices but you know what I have heard all the excuses before.Chin up.!!
Not sure if you can see this image but you can google trout life cycle. We buy our eggs from a specialised hatchery in the USA and Isle of Man. we kept our own brood stock up to a number of years ago but found it much more convenient to buy them in 6-8 times a year as it is better for farm management.We could only strip eggs once a year and our brood stock took up lots of pond space and lost condition after the process . We buy our eggs from Trout lodge who are very active in research and development of the best quality eggs possible in terms of disease resistance etc. we don,t buy the cheapest but we do buy the best.
The eggs come by plane to Heathrow and are transported by road to Dublin.Unfortunately we can no longer clear these eggs in Dublin since before Christmas which is a pain.!!
The eggs are striped from the hens(females) and mixed with the milt of the cocks(males) and fertilise. They hatch at 300degree days i.e.30days at 10degree Celsius .They usually arrive at 240 degree days and will generally hatch 4-5days later depending on the water temperature here. We got these eggs 21st of December and this photo shows them just before they hatched 25th Jan.They are called eyed ova at this stage. Notice 1 egg has hatched. I will take a picture tomorrow to show you the next stage which is the Alevin stage. Isn’t it fascinating. Living nature.Please send me any questions you have and feel free to make comments. I have none to date.!!!
Started twittering last week. You could spend all your time and it is very addictive. Better limit myself to half an hour a day. you can follow goatsbridge on @ goatsbridge. Also skype us on margaret.kirwan1. I will follow the life cycle of the fish on my blog starting from a 5 day old egg. should be interesting. Just check out our tweets .
Selling lots of our new hot smoked trout for the Christmas. It makes a nice change from the traditional smoked salmon.Went to Ardkeen Stores last week and they were as supportive as ever.We as artisan food producers should do something to spread the word about those guys. If every town in Ireland had a store like that we would all be in heaven.!!
Went to Supervalue last Saturday and Woodstock Christmas fair on Sunday. I hope Santa is organised because I have lots to do. Back to Loughboy in kilkenny tomorrow to do a promotion with Paul from Tess’s bakery so see you there.
P.S. Goatsbridge smoked trout is a great present and makes a change from the usual predictable box of chocolates. !!
P.S.check out my Twitter page:@twitter.com/goatsbridge
Neven Maguire participated in a cookery demonstration in aid of some worthy Kilkenny charities a few weeks ago . He kindly decided to showcase our new hot smoked completely boneless rainbow trout . He made a buttery smoked trout sauce to accompany roasted haddock. it tasted delicious . We swapped some trout for his latest cookery book at the end of the night. I think he is the food version of Daniel O Donnell.!! Really lovely guy.
Anne Neary (pictured above, left) from Ryeland House cookery school has been kind enough to come on a mini tour with Goatsbridge Trout Farm to help promote our product and educate the public in the art of cooking trout. We began out three day tour in Borris where we cooked for 50 members of the active retirement groups. We then went to Kells in Co. Kilkenny where we were greeted by 30 locals and we ended our tour in Callan Co. Kilkenny where showed over 200 mostly ladies just how good our product is. People are really excited to hear about the new innovation used to product the first completely boneless trout fillet in this country.
Goatsbridge Trout farm launched their first added value product at the annual Savour kilkenny Festival this October. This hot smoked completely boneless product will be available in retail outlets early next year. It can be found locally in all the speciality food stores throughout the south east. The product featured on all the tasting menus over the course of the weekend and was a big hit with chiefs and consumers alike. Check out the savour kilkenny website at http://www.savourkilkenny.com/