MAKING tasty spiced beetroot relish has helped a South- East Clare food producers to secure a place in the 2020 Blas na hEireann Awards finals.
Bramble Cottage Produce has beaten off stiff competition to become a finalists in the Irish Food Awards.
Kathy McAndrew Wallace is a small artisan producer who makes chutneys, relishes and pickles in her HSE-approved kitchen in Clonlara from home grown vegetables and fruit.
Operating from Bramble Cottage, she is a finalist in the relish category for her spiced beetroot relish.
Her business evolved out of growing her own vegetables and deciding to make beetroot relish, which is the product that has made it to the finals.
She recalled people asked her to make beetroot relish for them, and, as one of the main founders of the Urban Coop in the Eastway Business Park. Limerick, she started selling it in this market.
She also makes red onion marmalade, Thomond Red Ale chutney using the red ale from the Treaty City Brewery, garden pesto, crab apple jelly and cucumber and dill pickle.
She said all these can be used with cheese or cold meat or people can use the red onion marmalade on barbecued burgers.
“All these products are very versatile and they also have a good long shelf life,” she said.
Having started the business in 2016, her kitchen is inspected annually by the HSE’s environmental health officer, even though chutneys and relishes are not considered as high risk food.
The main environmental health requirement is the provision of separate washing facilities so she can wash the earth off of vegetables before she brings them in to her kitchen. She wasn’t required to install any specific equipment in her kitchen to comply with health guidelines.
Working as a resource worker with the Limerick and Clare Training Board, she is a part-time chutney producer.
“It was a hobby that turned into a business. I am not a company and I am just operating on my own. I produce 120 to 150 jars a month. Apart from the Urban Co-op, I also supply the Limerick and Clare Garden Festival, which didn’t go ahead this year due to Covid-19.
“I am delighted to be a finalist. This is the first year I entered the spiced beetroot relish, which has been the most popular of all my products.
“Getting nominated is more of an acknowledgement of the standard of the product. The demand is increasing and trying to keep up with it can be challenging at times,” she outlined.