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Food on The Fairgreen

Living

SHOP LOCAL Mayo News food writer Redmond Cabot, of Westport-based Red’s Sauce, enjoying some locally brewed craft beer ahead of The Big Picnic on The Fairgreen in Westport this coming Saturday. Pic: Michael McLaughlin

‘The Big Picnic’ is set to celebrate culinary creativity with an alfresco jamboree

Áine Ryan

THE Westport Food Festival may have taken a break after eight years of providing the public with a carnival of culinary creativity which showcased the best of fare on offer in the tourism haven but don’t despair. The Big Picnic’s inaugural outing will indulge and satiate the food cravings of locals and visitors at The Fairgreen on Saturday next, June 22, from 10am to 6pm.
Committee member, Redmond Cabot explains: “Visitors are invited to browse amongst 25 of the finest producers from the region, purchase a sample tasting plate of their fancy, and sit by long, trestle tables to enjoy their local foods. It is a chance to eat, chat and converse with the neighbours, all the while being entertained by local musicians throughout the whole day.”
He confirms there will also be children’s events during this family-themed day.
“This new development will be a cross between a French open market and a carnival atmosphere of local producers. Westport town will be busy with a Gaelforce event that weekend also and with hopefully with good weather there will be no better place to be.
“The day market will be an amazing gastronomic showcase of the finest and most committed food producers in the region, while introducing a new community element of communal seating and time of day to sit and relax and talk with visitors,” Cabot adds.
A Mayo News food columnist, Redmond Cabot’s sauces – Tomato and Basil and Thai Red Curry – were recently successfully contracted to Aldi’s 137 stores nationwide as  part of the ‘Grow with Aldi’ programme.
He is joined on the committee by Cillian Ó’Móráin of Mescan Brewery, Patricia O’Grady of Westport Cuisine and Fiona Moran of Nadurtha Soul Foods. O’Grady’s delicious sweet and savoury bakes have been likened to works of art with an exotic flair while Fiona Moran’s gluten and dairy-free foods suit the huge trend towards healing eating and are ideal for vegans.  
Speaking also ahead of the event, Cillian Ó Móráin, said: “We are very excited to get together with other local producers to host the biggest picnic mayo has ever seen. It’s a very simple formula – local produce, picnic tables and benches and a relaxed atmosphere for music and chat while enjoying some of the best artisanal food and drink that Mayo has to offer. We see this even as bringing back the Fairday to the Fairgreen.”
 The Big Picnic committee say that ‘local food production is strong and resilient in the county.
“Local producers contribute essential employment, skills base, and business activity to communities,” they said.
Speaking to The Mayo News, Mayo County Council’s Head of Enterprise, John Magee said: “The Big Picnic Westport is a fantastic opportunity to showcase the small producers in the area and the high quality of their produce. It is hugely important that the local artisan food sector is supported by the local community. Initiatives like this provide an opportunity to raise awareness of the many successful producers in the area.”  
Among the artisan food producers that will feature at the inaugural Big Picnic are: Cabot’s of Westport; The Pancake Factory; Mescan Brewery; Bowl-a-Granola; Velvet Cloud; Mack and Spud; Kombucha; Thai Food; Signature Bakes and Westport Cuisine; Dozio’s Cheese; Nora’s Fudge;  Ó Móráins’s  Curry; Candyfloss; Velvet Cloud; Nadurtha Soul Foods; Wildwood Vinegars; Aleppo Foods; Patrick O’Reilly’s Sourdough; Bláth Groonell’s balms.

Westport Food Festival bows out for 2019
A note on the Westport Food Festival website pays gratitude to all those involved from its inception in 2011. The Chairman Eoin McDonnell and the committee highlighted how it has been ‘a real celebration of food in Westport drawing together producers, eateries of all descriptions and people who are just interested in food and its provenance’.  Eoin McDonnell said: “Westport Food Festival has been a mainstay of the summer calendar for the last eight years. It has played an important part in highlighting Westport as a centre of good food and provided opportunities for local producers to develop their business. Thanks to everyone who has so generously helped out to make it possible.”