It has been a long time since I posted a blog but now is as good a time as any to get back into it.
Goatsbridge were crowned Ireland’s most innovative food company last weekend in Belfast where we beat off some of the best companies in the land like Glenisk and Mash Direct. If we do not maximise on this win it will just be an ego boost and we have not got time for ego here with so much work ahead.
Good news for Goatsbridge as we embark on our journey in the export market. We are taking a stand at the Brussels International Seafood trade show for the first time so wish us luck.
Onwards and upwards
It has been a long time since I posted a blog but now is as good a time as any to get back into it.
In November 2010, the Nationwide TV crew visited Goatsbridge Trout Farm for a day for a feature on our trout farming operations here in Kilkenny. You can read about their visit here. Watch the above video for a look at what happened on the day and a further insight into the running of things here at Goatsbridge Trout Farm.
If you ever wanted to know more about Goatsbridge Trout Farm and how it all began here in Kilkeny then settle in for few minutes and watch the above video, going right back to the founding of the farm all the way to our present day business.
I’m Mag from Goatsbridge Premium Irish Trout. On this blog I’m going to share all the news we have as we develop our fantastic products. It’s also a place for you to catch up on food related events that we are taking part in, hear about other artisan food producers and join us on the journey as we strive to make the world more aware of our heavenly tasting products. We are also going to share lots of trout related recipes so no excuses for not cooking!
This is a diary kept my my good friend on his first visit to goatsbridge this October. Lets hope we do not lose the magic we have here in Ireland. I think we will always have a lot to offer.
Charles has kindly allowed me to publish his first day here.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 29, 2010
Day 1: International Local Food Tour
Arrived in Dublin, Ireland at 8:30 AM. Passports stamped we are ready to take on the Day. All 7 of us were collected at the Airport by our Gracious Host, Mag Kirwen of Goatsbridge Trout Farm, and her trusted associate Billy. After trying to get into the driver’s side of her van, we make our way towards Thomastown down the N9 Motorway. On our one and half hour Journey to Goatsbridge, the similarities between Sal and Mag are uncanny. Her phone is constantly ringing: she is talking business, taking orders, relaying trout orders to her Husband Ger, making final adjustments for Savour Kilkenny, arranging child care for their four beautiful children and in between she is planning our itinerary.
We arrive at Goatsbridge famished and tired. Mag immediately turns me loose in her kitchen, as this is a Monday, one of her busiest days. I am totally excited about the prospect of cooking some true Irish goodies. I put together a breakfast of Rashers, Sausages, White Pudding, scrambled eggs, bread, tea and coffee. I managed to fill the entire house up with smoke. I’ll blame it on Jet Lag.
Energized we headed to take a tour of Jerpoint Abbey. The Abbey is within walking distance of Goatsbridge, but I do not recommend walking. It is beautiful country with Sheep, Cattle, and wild blackberries on the way. But it is also a very busy, narrow two lane road with no sidewalk.
Once we arrive at the Abbey we are saddened to learn that admission is cash only. We have yet to convert anything to cold hard Euros. We are not discouraged because walking around the outside we are in awe of the centuries old stone. We marveled at the engineering of this beautiful structure and took many photographs, and had a little fun too. On the walk back we decided to explore a dirt road and discovered a railroad Bridge that made a nice photo opportunity.
Once back at Goatsbridge, I try unsuccessfully to stay awake. I am enjoying the warm Irish Sunshine that is abundant in Mag and Ger’s House. When I awake I learn that I am missing a tour of the farm. I arise with a new found vigor and join the group as they are visiting the new processing facility that is being constructed. Once completed, the new processing facility will provide them the much needed space to meet the increased demand for their Premium Irish Trout.
After the tour, we are treated to a homemade lasagna, good bread and wine. The lasagna was a meatier less saucy version than what I am used too, but it was delicious. 3 plates delicious. With a full belly and content spirit, I head to bed for some much needed sleep.
This is just Day One and I am already in love with the country, the people and the food!
Last week we had a visit from the Nationwide team much to the excitement of my four kids. The day started with the team filming our chaotic morning ritual although the kids were unbelievably cooperative for a change.
Helen McInernie was a pet and we spent at least 6 hours looking at the finer details of our operation here. They say 1 hour of filming translates into 1 minute of air time.
We are looking forward to our 5 minutes of fame tonight on Nationwide at 7 o clock.
As if that wasn’t too much excitement for one week TV3 came yesterday to do a short profile for Bank of Irelands who will show it as part of their involvement in Enterprise week starting Monday. Alas the kids were not needed this week but my seven year old has now decided she will no longer like to be a fish farmer but feels TV is for her!!
Tune in folks.
It is all about being in the right place at the right time. We realised a long time ago our fish handling facilities did not meet our new found demand for trout. We had spent a long time looking at the various possibilities to solve this issue and I am glad to say that project was completed on the 11th November 2010.
I was down in Clonakility on a lovely sunny day in early August when the big announcement was made that BIM were funding projects after a long battle with the EU. Unfortunately for 95% of the industry Salmon farmers and business in SAC regions were not eligible for this support.
Our application went in on 20th August and we started the project the following Monday. I have faced many challenges in my life to date: toilet training, first tooth, early school days, adolescence, first kiss, college exams, marriage, mother-in-laws, childbirth, parenting, and now old age! No challenge could compare to the mammoth task ahead.
We had 80 days to complete this building from the day the application went in but would not hear until well into the project if we were to get funding or not. It was a big risk but I knew the Gods were with us as always and we decided to take the risk.
Big thanks to all those who put their shoulder to the wheel .I have to give a special mention to the Foley Construction brothers. They are a family of 5 men and I must say it was like 7 brides for 7 brothers as times. Actually some of them are looking for a bride and I would recommend them highlybecause nothing is a problem and they could turn their hand at anything.
The job is complete and now we must fish on.
Nothing will stop us now!
It was another first for Goatsbridge when we participated in Bloom in the Phoenix Park on 27th of May this year. Although sales of my products were important in order to cover the cost of the stand it was’t my primary objective for being there. I could not bring my fresh fish along so I made up lots of smoked trout quiche and pates, products that we hope to bring to market sometime in the New Year.
It was my first time working directly with Bord Bia as they have been given the unenviable job of promoting fish here in Ireland as well as abroad. You may have noticed a new Bord Bia campaign headed by Doaithi O Shea encouraging people to eat more fish .As Martin Shanahan tells us “no skin, no bones ,no problem”.
It was great to meet @icanhascook, @babaduck, @bibliocook, @SHearnesmith ,@smorgasblog @dailyspud and of course the young and dynamic Donal Skeehan. These food bloggers are the new generation of food writers and I just love to dip in and out of their blogs keeping us up to date on the latest food trends. I had to laugh to myself when I realized @dailyspud was a woman so I guess you can say it is always good to put a face to a name. Donal Skeehan is the new up and coming Jamie Oliver and I look forward to watching him make his way to the top. Check out his good mood food blog.
On Monday evening after an exhausting 5 days it was time to make the return journey to Kilkenny. If I am to be honest I did’t have time to miss my family until that moment and I could’t wait to get home expecting a welcoming party at the door.Oh how they must have missed their mother. At 9 o clock I walked up the stairs to say good night only to be welcomed by my youngest with a look of bewilderment and astonishment on her little 4 year old face. She looked at me as she went into the loo for her ritual last minute wee wee and stopped momentarily and said “Hi Mum. Aine (my 7 year old going on 15!!) told me you were dead.” On she walked to do her business and that was that.
Just shows how Bloom,trout,food bloggers,market research ,award wining gardens were insignificant in her life. At least her mother was alive.!!!!
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.!!