AUTUMN is the perfect month for discovering more about Northern Ireland’s rich harvest history and heritage.
As the cooler weather sets in and the evenings get shorter, what better time to think about comfort foods such as potatoes, cabbages, carrots, onions and even the divisive Brussel sprout!
Northern Ireland’s landscape is bursting with a variety of locally grown, fresh ingredients and to celebrate October as Harvest Month, Tourism Northern Ireland is encouraging people to find out more about the delicious products grown right on their doorstep.
Rachel Quigg, Communications & Destination PR Officer, Tourism Northern Ireland said:
“Quite often we will shop for foods and cook our dinner without really thinking about where our food comes from so it is fascinating to know that lots of the yummy produce we have every day comes from right here in Northern Ireland.
“From Comber Potatoes to Armagh Apples, Northern Ireland is renowned for its fertile fields and the returns we yield every year. We are encouraging everyone to take the time to find out more about the interesting history of our land and maybe even take a walk with family or friends around some of the open farms available to find out more,” added Rachel.
Tourism Northern Ireland has put together a list of fun events to try this October as well as some interesting information about some of the foods that Northern Ireland is famous for.
Foods Harvested in Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is rich in abundance with locally produced foods such as Armagh Apples.
Co. Armagh is known as Ireland’s Orchard County and the orchards now produce more than 40,000 tonnes of Armagh Bramley apples each year. In 2012, the Armagh Bramley Apple was awarded Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) Status under the EU Protected Food Name Scheme and this status ensures that the Armagh Bramley Apple is ranked alongside the world’s premium protected food products such as Champagne and Parma Ham.
Armagh Cider is another apple based product renowned around the world and the Armagh Cider Company is owned by Philip and Helen Troughton of Ballinteggart House, just outside Portadown.
The cider produced is hand crafted and completely natural containing no artificial ingredients of flavours.
Northern Ireland is famous for potatoes and Comber is known everywhere for their Comber Earlies especially as the potatoes were granted the elite EU PGI status in 2012. The McKee farming family have grown Comber potatoes for years and can trace their family history back as far as the early 1700s.
Why not take friends or family and try out some of the following fun events!
Apple Day, Ballance House, Glenavy, Co. Antrim, October 15.
A fun and creative afternoon out for the whole family, this year Apple Day features jumping clay, arts and crafts, and face painting. Enjoy acoustic guitar and tickle your taste buds with delicious toffee sauce from Brambleberry Jams along with apple dippers and locally made apple juice. There will also be a great range of craft stalls and competitions on the day, and Skye and Jazz, two lovely Springer spaniels, will be there to promote their new book!
Pumpkinfest, Castle Ward, Downpatrick, Co. Down, October 22-23.
At this celebration of the delicious Halloween fruit, visitors can choose from more than 2,000 pumpkins ready to be scooped out and then carved. Find the Pumpkin people on the trail, browse an extensive display of local crafts in the Stableyard and Farmyard and bring along your very own scarecrow creation.
Apple Cart Festival 2016, Orchard Acre Farm, Irvinestown, Co. Fermanagh, October 26.
Orchard Acre Farm’s Teresa O’Hare will guide you through her kitchen garden and orchards, explaining how to care for soft fruits plants, fruit trees and harvesting skills. You will then return to the kitchen to cook up some delicious fruit puddings and pies. Teresa will demonstrate fruit preparation, pastry making and pie designs and types, with a cup of tea and slice of pie to round the day off.
Harvest at Springhill, Springhill House, Moneymore, Co. Londonderry, October 9, 16 & 23.
Visit Springhill for a unique insight into the workings of this Plantation estate at harvest time. See the house set for harvest, warm up with a bowl of broth and wheaten bread in the new Barn Café, and experience the gardens, walks and allotments in a whole new light by taking a guided estate tour. There is also a lot for children to enjoy, with a scarecrow trail and a host of fun autumn activities.
Apple Harvest, Suitor Craft Gallery, Ballygawley, Co. Tyrone, October 1-31.
The Suitor Craft Gallery grows its own organic apples in its orchard, and through October will be celebrating the apple harvest. There will be apple crumbles, apple scones, apple sponge and more, with a different range of treats being served each day.