THREE Clare farmers’ markets were this week named among the top markets in the country. The Ballyvaughan, Ennis and Kilrush farmers’ markets were each awarded the Farmers’ Market Good Practice Standard 2011-2012 by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney on Wednesday.
These are the first Clare markets to achieve the standard and are among only 30 to receive the award this year. Last year, Kinvara Farmers’ Market became one of the first markets in the country to receive the accolade.
Minister Coveney said he was delighted to see the interest in the standard adding that his department and Bord Bia would welcome further applications up to May 24.
Minister Coveney added, “There is a growing consumer demand for healthy foods that are locally produced. Research by Bord Bia shows that local food is now seen as food that is not mass-produced but is about small-scale production and hand-made produce. People wish to sustain their own local community and markets can connect small producers with consumers in a very direct way. Local food systems and farmers markets support the economy. We have a long tradition in Ireland of producing high-quality safe food. Many small food producers and food entrepreneurs engaged in farmers markets draw on that heritage to revive or re-invent local traditions”.
Farmers’ markets displaying the Good Practice Standard undertake to hold markets regularly, to stock a substantial proportion, ideally at least 50%, of local produce from the county or neighbouring counties, to accommodate seasonal and local garden/allotment produce and to promote compliance with food safety/labelling rules.