By Helen Riddell
A NEW farmers’ market on Bere Island is proving there’s a huge demand for island grown and made produce.
John Walsh of Bere Island Projects Group said they had been hoping to set up a market on the island for some time.
‘We put the idea out to islanders here, a number came forward, they formed their own committee and organised the venue and arranged it all themselves. We received great help from Jude Gilbert from Comhar Na nOileain, who gave us advice and arranged for food safety training,’ he said.
The first market was held on the June bank holiday weekend, and it’s now held every Sunday from 12pm to 2pm outside the Bere Island Hotel. Stall holder Harriet Roche said they have up to 10 stalls most Sundays, selling everything from cakes and sourdough bread, to island made crafts, island seaweed skincare, and home grown salads and vegetables. Harriet, who is a licensed organic grower, sells a range of salads and vegetable grown on her land.
‘The market is going extremely well, and it’s shown us that there is a huge demand for locally grown produce.’
Two island businesses The Lookout Café and Wild Atlantic Glamping are now working directly with some of the stall holders to provide food products for their visitors.
The market has also turned out to be a vital social outlet after lockdown says Harriet: ‘Some people hadn’t had much contact for with people for some time, so it’s been a great opportunity for people to meet up and chat.’
Mother and daughter Mary and Molly Sullivan run a home baking stall with all produce made by 16-year-old Molly who rises at 5am every Sunday to ensure everything is freshly made.
Chair of the committee, Jenny O’Neill said: ‘We are delighted with how it’s going, there’s a huge amount of talent on the island, we’re in a really great location here at the hotel, the view is amazing, and it’s right beside the children’s playground, so everyone is happy!’
Jenny says they hope they can continue to run the market after the summer: ‘It might not be every week but we do plan to try and keep it going.’