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It’s that time of year and it’s all roads leading to the Show. As always logistics are a nightmare, but once inside there is something for everyone. 


I made a bee line for the food tent. There was such a large array of locally produced food and drinks. It’s good to see from small producers right up to the big boys displaying their products. There were lots of demos, tastings, educational games for children and adults!!!

There were also big marquees for the big players like Tesco, M&S and LIDL. As well as specific farming based marquees. 

For the younger folk there was play areas, amusement rides and for the older folk rides, a bar, hot food outlets and a shopping village and market stalls. 

I had a lengthy chat with Nic Parsons (Dairy Tescos) about all things Tesco and he reassured me that Tesco are taking the wellbeing of its suppliers and customers seriously and honouring their corporate social responsibility. They have programmes for educational visits to farms and their stores for Primary School kids. It’s good to see that their pork comes from Karro/Cookstown.

I also chatted to the Chairman of United Dairy Farmers, John Dunlop who said that he was satisfied with the treatment received from the supermarkets. So things are not as bad as some parts of the media portray!!

Meanwhile there was showjumping, livestock displays, big commercial machines on show. In short there is a lot for everyone to see and do and enjoy. The car parking is £7 and entrance £15, maybe a bit high? Traffic is still an issue!!

New things I saw were new range of products from Mash direct, new branding  from Annaghmore mushrooms, new products from Cookstown sausages (microwaveable bacon), new branding from Ormo bakery and the introduction to healthier pancakes for kids (50:50). Also got some sausages from Kennedys and tobacco onions from Milgro.

There are a couple of events coming up like the Big Lunch next week and the Sunflower festival (end of July). Also some info on Hovis and Ormo.

Got some rapeseed oil from Harnett’s oils and tasted the new range of the Broighter Gold oils. Had a delicious chicken and ham pie with mash and gravy from Jolly Pies-delicious. Tasted some lovely cabbage from Gilfresh. Also tasted some of the offerings in the Lifl tent. Good to see Lidl sourcing more local produce (their chicken range comes from Moy Park), they are sponsors of the Tall Ships, they have plans to open 10-15  new stores in the North over the next 3 years and employ 600 staff at their distribution centre in Antrim (which is second largest warehouse in NI). They also help local charities and causes Clic Sargeant being one such one. 

So two and a bit days left, get down to the Balmoral Show.

The BelfastFoodMan
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