From the traditional and famous Blaa to exotic seaweed based breads, the return of hand roasting coffee in the region to locally famous ice cream makers, these and more local food producers will be pitching their tents in Cathedral Square, Waterford City and creating the Enterprising Food Village in this September’s Harvest Festival.
Festival goers can also look forward to practical cookery demonstrations in the village over the weekend.
Over the past few years the routes to market for local food producers have expanded exponentially. Festivals such as Harvest increase sales, but more importantly introduce these brands to new markets and future customers.
Based on working with local food producers, Mr. Ciaran Cullen of Waterford’s Local Enterprise Office anticipates an increase of over 30 jobs from those businesses in the next 12 months. “The food culture in Waterford has shifted perceptively in the last few years. Here in Waterford we are lucky to have a dedicated group of food producers who are making great strides in putting Waterford on the Irish food map. This is in no small part helped by the Local Enterprise Office’s ‘Food Academy Programme’, in partnership with SuperValu and Bord Bia. Our clients have informed us of plans to expand their workforce due to increased demand both within Ireland and internationally.”
The Food Academy really does give small producers a big chance, as local producers from Waterford City and County; Gino’s Ice-cream, Ponticelli Coffee, The Early Bird Egg Company, Edelicious and Sea of Vitality were among the first participants in this tailored retail programme resulting in the Waterford ‘five’ becoming the first graduates to have their products displayed on the shelves of Caulfield’s, Garvey’s and Quish’s SuperValu stores in Waterford last month.
Based on the success of the initial sales and customer feedback SuperValu has agreed to expand the Waterford food products nationwide to line the shelves of between 15 and 20 stores across the SuperValu platform. Mr. Cullen believes this expansion in sales will translate into jobs and inspire further food enterprises in the county.
The Harvest Festival takes place in Waterford City on the weekend of the 12th to 14th September 2014. Now in its sixth year, the three day festival has built a reputation as a valuable showcase for local and regional food producers. Young and young at heart alike will be able to find something to whet their appetites throughout Waterford’s city centre, the Viking Triangle and the three City Centre Parks.
If you want to know more the Harvest Festival’s full programme of events is available on http://www.waterfordharvestfestival.ie/. The Festival brochure is widely available throughout the City and County. Be sure to keep up to date on all things Harvest Fest by checking it out on Facebook and Twitter.