Here is 12 mile the film the second in a series of films by myself. I hope you enjoy watching it as much as I enjoyed making it.
I hope the film gets across something that is now very dear to my heart. The importance and the reason to buy locally and where possible, directly from the farmers themselves.
This sentiment is also echoed in my other film Beoir ‘A Tale of Ireland`s craft Ale’.
I have always been interested in food, but I have my time in Midleton Co Cork to thank for what my mother would call an obsession (as if it is wrong to be passionate about something in your life?).
What is special about Midleton, well there is Ireland’s largest distillery there
The original farmers market ‘The Midleton Farmers Market’ was started at the start of the new century in 2000 and led in no small part by Darina Allen. The importance of this market cannot be understated, it was for me a direct introduction to real Irish food. This is real food, being sold by real people, who really do make it on their local farms. This is not a fantasy. In Midleton Farmers market you can meet and talk to Jane Murphy of Ardsallagh goats, Dan Ahern beef, chicken & turkey farmer (where I bought my Turkey every year I was in Midleton for Christmas), Martin, Noreen & kids from Woodside farm free range pork, Frank Hederman, Foodie legend Declan Ryan of Arbutus bread, Darina Allen herself, Lucy from Ballyhoura mushrooms, The Lobster man Mike Barrett, and on and on there are so many heavy weights of the Irish artisanal food scene setting up in the Midleton farmers market every Saturday.
Then of course Midleton is now home to Sage restaurant which houses Kevin Ahern the 2014 Munster Chef of the year as decided by the restaurants association of Ireland. Kevin is the star of the 12 Mile the film. Kevin took my interest in local artisinal food and showed me that I can by direct from local farmers, that I didn`t need to go to a market to find them, that I didn`t need to see their products in a shop. Kevin showed me if I looked around me, opened my eyes and became conscious of what produce was right in front of my nose, I could go direct to the farmer and buy the produce. Once you start noticing what’s in the fields around you, you realise we are surrounded by food in Ireland.
For me it also starts with a quick internet search on the Irish organic farmers & growers association website http://iofga.org/ this has names and numbers of Organic farmers and what they grow or raise, it cannot be easier than a phone call and finding out will they sell produce to you direct.
So why buy local? Here are 12 reasons
1) Locally grown food tastes better. The crops are picked at their peak. Livestock products are processed in nearby facilities and typically the farmer has direct relationship with processors, overseeing quality, this is what you find with a Butcher like Frank Murphy and farmers such as Woodside farm, Dan Ahern, James Stafford.
2) Local food is more nutritious. There are very few miles for the food to travel, the nutrients will not be lost from fresh food. Food imported from far away is older and has travelled on trucks or planes, and sat in warehouses before it gets to you.
3) Smaller local farms offer more diversity. Livestock diversity is also higher where there are many small farms rather than few large farms. James Stafford’s Highland beef is an example of this. There’s a unique kind of assurance that comes from looking a farmer in the eye at farmers’ market or driving by the fields where your food comes from. Local farmers aren’t anonymous and they take their responsibility to the consumer seriously.
4) Buying local food keeps us in touch with the seasons. By eating with the seasons, we are eating foods when they are at their peak taste, are the most abundant, and the least expensive.
5) Local food supports real local families. The wholesale prices that farmers get for their products are low, often near the cost of production. Local farmers who sell direct to consumers cut out the middleman and get full retail price for their food this helps local farm families stay on the land.
6) Local food builds community. When you buy direct from a farmer, you’re engaging in a time-honored connection between eater and grower. Knowing farmers gives you insight into the seasons, the land, and your food. In many cases, it gives you access to a place where your children and grandchildren can go to learn about nature and agriculture.
7) Every penny spent locally to a local farmer or business stays in the local economy and in the long run is good for all in the local area.
8) Local food benefits the environment and wildlife. Well-managed farms provide ecosystem services: they conserve fertile soil, protect water sources, and sequester carbon from the atmosphere. The farm environment is a patchwork of fields, meadows, woods, ponds and buildings that provide habitat for wildlife in our communities.
9) Local food is an investment in the future. By supporting local farmers today, you are helping to ensure that there will be farms in your community tomorrow. That is a matter of importance for food security, especially in light of an uncertain energy future and our current reliance on fossil fuels to produce, package, distribute and store food.
10) Local farmers more often than not will tell you how to cook their products, just have a discussion with Noreen of Woodside farm and you will know what I mean.
11) Products such as honey are perceived to have health benefits but really this is only from honey that is produced and bought from the area you live in. Honey consumption therefore should be local honey, for the maximum health benefits.
12) If there is beautiful landscape around you, which we have in Ireland then the food can only be beautiful also, the food we produce is only as good as the land and the soil that produces it.
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