Just thought the other day as I sat in a meeting with a number of kilkenny food producers and my ‘big sister ‘ how things never really change. I grew up in a large family and have an older brother who was 2 years older and a sister who was 1 year older. My mother had 7 more kids after me.
Miriam was always the big sister. I remember clearly having to give Miriam a lift down the first flight of stairs to the toilet each night. Louise and I would cross our hands to make a seat and Queen Miriam would climb aboard. She always promised a return trip back but needless to say that never happened.
Miriam is still the big sister as she puts me in my place when I make a ridiculous suggestion during one of our many meetings planning the Kilkenny Food Trail. She had just left her very successful career in journalism to pursue a career as a pr consultant. You may be wondering how on earth we got so much media presence in the last few months and continue to do so. It all boils down to the genius that is Miriam Donohoe, my big sister.
So when you read our spread in the Food and Wine magazine or hear Damien O Riley talking about Goatsbridge on his Saturday morning show think of Miriam Donohoe. She can do it for you too.
It was only a matter of time before the cobbled streets and castle walls of kilkenny merged with the fertile hinterland to put the city on the map as a “foodie” destination. And boy did we have fun. I just love this picture and especially Helen Finnegan,s look of disbelief on her face . I must say Ross was absolutely fantastic and gave a very thought provoking talk. He said the country has much to be proud of and that the trail is not just a celebration of quality local product but “of civic pride and social engagement that will pay dividends far greater than the simple tasty transaction”.
The idea is that you can pick up a copy of the food trail guide and map ,and plot a gloriously gluttonous path around the county. Looking forward to seeing you all at Goatsbridge this summer.No excuses.!!
Some ideas for trout treats –
Trout with mayonnaise and ground almonds
Take two Goatsbridge trout fillets, place under a grill, in an oven or simply on an electrically-heated clamshell grill (like a George Foreman Grill). Spread mayonnaise across them, cover with ground almonds, cook until golden brown and serve with a fresh green salad and homemade brown bread.
Guaranteed to impress!!!
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.
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.
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