Ireland’s cooking up something tasty and delicious with its Farm to Fork Movement. Quite like it sounds, ‘farm to fork’ is the process of growing and managing one’s food from start to finish. Home to thousands of farmers and plentiful resources, Ireland is the perfect place to go for high quality eats that also make for tasty treats. You may visit for the scenery, but you’ll find yourself wanting to stay for the food.
In order to understand this present day culinary phenomenon, it may help to look at Ireland’s past. The concept of enjoying food in Ireland wasn’t always a popular one.
The biggest example of this, of course, happened in the 1840s with the Great Famine. Before then, the Irish
lived solely on potatoes. Poor Irish farmers grew them on what little land they had. There was no sense of variety at mealtime. When the Famine hit, more than a million Irish died and many emigrated to escape. It would be some time in Ireland before the idea of enjoying food and eating in plentiful amounts was considered acceptable or even a possibility.
In many ways, Farm to Fork is a rejuvenation and return to the Irish ‘love of the land’ mindset. It starts with farmers - many of whom come from families owning the land for centuries. Ireland’s food regulations are far stricter than those in America. Everything from the way livestock are treated to various dyes found in breakfast cereal are under tighter restrictions. These farmers abide by Ireland’s food codes, valuing quality over quantity and anything processed. They then sell their goods either directly to locals to eat or to local restaurants and grocers.
One of these farms is Broughgammon in Ballycastle. No stranger to the Farm to Fork movement, it offers tours and classes for foodies who want a first-hand experience on their visit to Ireland. Broughgammon is just one of many places in Ireland with a passion for natural, healthy food. The concept carries over into restaurants and even hotels throughout the island. Many types of accommodation feature garden tours where guests can pick herbs and spices for sampling or cooking. And if you really want to go all out, you should visit one of Ireland’s grand markets. Held throughout various times of the week, these markets offer the best local goods found in the area. They are a great living, breathing representation of the region’s culture, people, and, of course, delectable specialties.
On a social level, Farm to Fork serves as a way to promote community and all things local. Not to mention, eating this way is great for your health. So great in fact, the University of Cork has joined in on the movement. Campus restaurants serve meals made from crops grown on its own land. It’s the first university in Ireland to do this, but definitely not the last.
The people of the Emerald Isle are big fans of farm to fork, and, with so many benefits, it’s hard to blame them. More than a fad, this culinary ideal has become a way of life. It’s something you can’t miss - nor would you want to - on your next visit!