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Kerry Food Hub officially opens new food production units

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Kerry Food Hub, a food innovation centre, has officially opened its 10 new 1,000sq ft food grade production units and launched of the artisanmarket.ie, a multi-vendor online marketplace linking artisan food producers and professional buyers.

ARTISAN FOOD: Minister for Education Norma Foley TD pictured at the opening of The Kerry Food Hub new food production units and the launch of the Artisanmarket.ie with from left: Kelly O’Halloran Kiera Fell Rosalyn O’Connor (Murphy’s Ice Cream) Michael Brosnan Niamh Kennedy (Murphy’s Ice Cream) and Lisa O’Halloran in Firies on Friday. Photo: Michelle Cooper Galvin

FAB FOOD: Jessica Clinton of Ballyhar Foods pictured with Minister for Education Norma Foley TD who opened The Kerry Food Hub new food production units and launched the Artisanmarket.ie on Friday. Photo: Michelle Cooper Galvin

OFFICIAL OPENING: Minister for Education Norma Foley TD cutting the tape to open The Kerry Food Hub new food production units and launch of the Artisanmarket.ie with David Gleeson (Chairman) Martin Brosnan (Project Manager) Anne O’Donoghue (Secretary) Morgan McMahon (Tres) Denis Dwyer Donal Spring and Mike McKenna (Directors) Cllr Jimmy Moloney Mayor of Kerry Sean Linnane (NEWKD) Jerry Moloney (Regional Manager Mid West Enterprise Ireland) Deputies Michael Healy Rae Sean Kelly (MEP) and food producers and entrepreneurs in Firies on Friday. Photo: Michelle Cooper Galvin

The 10 new spaces are part of the ongoing expansion of a community project comprising of four existing production units, which employ 40 people across four local food producers. This expansion will allow new food entrepreneurs to enter the market and facilitate established brands to scale up, delivering 162 local jobs and contributing an estimated €3 million in new income to the Kerry economy.

The online Artisan Market re-imagines the role of digital technology in the local food business. The platform enables local food producers to drive new value and leverage all elements of their unique brand and products, to grow and reshape the local food ecosystem across traditional industry borders. At the heart of this digital transformation strategy is sales and information exchange between the local food producer and professional buyers in the retail and hospitality sectors.

The Artisan Market facilitates an excellent opportunity to create more innovative business models and bring a new era of collaboration and partnership to all stakeholders.

The Kerry Food Hub is a not-for-profit community project located in Firies. It was the vision of local farmer David Gleeson who assembled a group of local social entrepreneurs to enhance employment opportunities in the region and make the community it serves a "better place to live".

"This considerable investment in the local economy and the online platform signifies confidence within Ireland's indigenous food artisan industry," David Gleeson, The Kerry Food Hub Chairman and Founder, said.

"The €2m investment ensures that The Kerry Food Hub will be a crucial source of employment within our local community. The platform offers the opportunity to re-think how we support our local food producers, providing a sharper focus on what consumers and visitors want to experience, great local food.

Without the investment from Enterprise Ireland, the Local community, North East West Kerry Development, Kerry County Council, Kerry Group, and Clann Credo, we would not be here today. We are truly grateful for their unwavering trust and belief in the project."

The Kerry Food Hub was established in 2016 and has enjoyed a one hundred percent uninterrupted occupancy since opening. While the activities over the past number of years have worked as a very successful proof of concept, the future is exceptionally bright. Through the extensive expansion of the existing premises and the development of the Artisan Market Platform, the board of local volunteers will aim to achieve their goal of encouraging and supporting local culinary talent.

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GAA stars set to gather for A Night With Legends

By Sean Moriarty Over 1,500 people are expected to attend Fossa GAA Club’s ‘A Night With Legends’ on Tuesday night. GAA royalty will grace the INEC stage as part of […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Over 1,500 people are expected to attend Fossa GAA Club’s ‘A Night With Legends’ on Tuesday night.

GAA royalty will grace the INEC stage as part of an ambitious fundraiser by the club.

The event will be styled on RTÉ’s popular pre All-Ireland Final show ‘Up for the Match’ where footballing legends will tell some of their life stories in between music and songs.

It will be hosted by author and raconteur Billy Keane and horseracing photographer Pat Healy. The event is one of the key fundraisers for the expanding Fossa GAA Club.

Coming just days before Kerry’s All-Ireland semi-final with Dublin, ‘A Night With Legends’ will also serve as a light-hearted preview to the important game.

Kerry greats like Pat Spillane, Mike Frank Russell, Paul Galvin and Eamon Fitzmaurice will be joined on stage by Dublin hero Bernard Brogan Sr. Killarney greats Colm ‘Gooch’ Cooper and Ambrose O’Donovan will also be there.

“This is not going to be a boring night, it is going to be filled with fun and banter, music and craic,” Fossa GAA chairman, Dermot Clifford, told the Killarney Advertiser.

Several raffle and auction prizes are up for grabs on the night too, the most unusual being a chance to bid on a racing greyhound, donated by the Murphy Family from Brosna.

The fundraiser has already raised €10,000 thanks to a recent auction organised by Paul Nagle. The local rally star sold one of his world championship helmets for €25,000 with the balance going to Recovery Haven in Tralee.

Limited tickets are still available at a cost of €25 per person or groups can buy a table of 12 for €250.

Ticket enquires: nightoflegends2022@gmail.com.

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Salvias are valuable plants for any gardener

By Debby Looney, gardening expert One plant which I think is a super addition to borders and pots is the salvia. There are many to choose from, but there are […]

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By Debby Looney, gardening expert

One plant which I think is a super addition to borders and pots is the salvia. There are many to choose from, but there are two broad differences, one is the bedding salvia, with its spikes of fire-engine-red flowers – though they come in cream and purple also.

These have become less popular with gardeners over the years, as slugs eat them with relish. I have found the product ‘Grazers’, a spray, excellent as a slug repellent. As an aside, ‘Grazers’ also do a rabbit, deer, lily beetle and caterpillar repellent, all of which are organically certified and perfectly safe to use. They are also quite effective products. Secondly, everyone knows the herb salvia, or sage which goes perfect with chicken, roast squash or parma ham, it is a flavour of autumn.

However, there are over 500 salvias to choose from, and happily, nurseries are taking notice of them. This year a notable addition to most garden centre stock is the hybrid Wish collection. There are three; ‘Love and Wishes’, ‘Ember’s Wish’ and ‘Wendy’s Wish’. Being the greedy gardener I am, I planted all three, and have been rewarded by large bushy plants with masses of colour. I planted them in a free draining, sunny part of the garden, where they have plenty of space. The plants themselves reach about 80cm, flower spikes being at least 20cm long in colours pink, aubergine and orange.

Another beauty is S. Amistad, which every garden with a flower border should have. They grow up to 1.2m, with lush dark green foliage, topped by dark blue flowers. The calyces (the bit the flower comes out of!) are almost black, giving it a fantastically dramatic look. S. nemerosa is a hardy variety, used in Irish gardens for years, as it spreads happily keeping weeds at bay. ‘New Dimension Blue’ is a lovely variety, with rich blue flower spikes. S. nemerosa does not grow that tall, about 30cm. It is also one of the few salvias which will tolerate heavy soil and a lot of winter rain.

S. roemeriana ‘Hot Trumpets’ is also a low growing spreading salvia, about 30cm, with the brightest red flower spikes I have yet to see rivalled! It grows well in dappled shade, adding great splashes of colour. Another red is S. x jamensis ‘Hot Lips’. It is an evergreen perennial, which loves full sun. It grows to about 50cm, and has flowers from April through to the first frosts. The flowers are bicoloured red and white, like little flags. ‘Killer Cranberry’ is another beauty with magenta flowers.

All salvias are attractive to bees and other pollinators, and as such are valuable plants for any gardener. They look great grouped with other perennials, as well as in pots or on their own in beds.

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