The food sector is the main driver of growth in the economy.

Simon Coveney quoting Michael Noonan.

It seemed that everyone started scribbling or typing when Simon Coveney, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, let us in on what his colleague, Michael Noonan, the Minister for Finance, had said at that morning’s cabinet meeting. For once, it appeared that the importance of our native Irish food industries was being recognised at the highest levels.

The Minister’s address closed out the first Bord Bia Taste Council Food Summer School. The event had been billed as the first national symposium on the current and future contribution of artisan and speciality food producers to the Irish economy and was held in the lovely surroundings of Brooklodge, Co. Wicklow last Tuesday.

The attendees were a veritable who’s-who of movers and shakers in the Irish food scene: from Ballymaloe’s legendary Darina and Myrtle Allen to Bridgestone Guide author John McKenna, from Georgina Campbell of the Ireland Guide to Margaret Jaffares of Good Food Ireland, from Kevin and Seamus Sheridan of Sheridan’s Cheesemongers to Pat Smith, general secretary of the Irish Farmer’s Association (IFA). There were butchers, bakers and fine food makers, and there was, as is only right and proper, plenty of that fine food to eat.

John McKenna Wicklow food

John McKenna poses with a bountiful array of local foods at the Food Summer School

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