6 reasons to visit your local farm shop this summer

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With fresh produce and expert advice, farm shops and farmers’ markets are great sources of local food and information. Here, we spotlight a farm shop in Ashbourne, Co Meath, along with some other great farm shops to visit around Ireland

Photo: McNally Family Farm

There are lots of great reasons to visit your local farm shop or market, from supporting local farmers to great recipe ideas. Here, we spotlight a farm shop in Ashbourne, Co Meath, along with some other great farm shops to visit around Ireland.

Words and images by Kinga Piotrowska

Spotlight on: Newbarn Farm Shop, Co Meath

We recently took a trip out to Ashbourne, Co Meath to visit the Newbarn Farm Shop and discover why shopping at your local farm shop or farmers’ market is a good idea. Just outside Ashbourne, the Ruiter family business sells homegrown and locally sourced fruit and vegetables alongside a selection of artisan farm produce.

The family has been growing fruit and vegetables in Ireland for over 60 years. As well as the Newbarn Farm Shop, they have The Donkey Shed Restaurant (re-opening on 8 June) in which they use their locally grown produce. You can also enjoy the open farm where you can meet the farm animals and have a lovely day out.

An important aspect of the farm shop is to promote local farmers and reduce the amount of packaging and waste often found in larger stores. Vegetables don’t have far to travel meaning they are some of the freshest you can get, and they are always in season therefore packed full of flavour, providing great inspiration for which recipes you can cook.

The farm has about 15 field vegetables and the family work with many local growers to get the best locally grown and Irish produce on the shelves for as much of the year as they can. They also directly import fruit and vegetables that cannot be grown in Ireland, to have a wide range of fresh produce all year round.

Flavours for summer:

Some seasonal produce in May and June to look out for are artichoke, cabbage, asparagus, aubergine, beetroot, lettuce, tomatoes, new potatoes, peppers, cauliflower, radishes, rhubarb, spinach, spring onions and strawberries.

Here are six reasons to visit your local farm shop or market, and below we’ve listed more great destinations to look out for on your travels this summer:

  1. Minimises plastic waste and air miles, as usually produce is packaging-free and the majority of it is grown nearby.
  2. There’s lots of organic produce to choose from.
  3. Pick up fruit and vegetables at the peak of their freshness.
  4. Meet the farmers and people behind the food, often family-run businesses.
  5. Recipe ideas: let the seasonal produce lead the way.
  6. Local knowledge on the varieties and expertise on growing your own vegetables.

The Milk Market, Limerick

One of the oldest markets in Ireland, in recent years the Milk Market was recently redeveloped to suit the weather all year round. Buy fruit, vegetables, dairy items, craft and baked goods from this market first opened in 1852.

Photo: The Milk Market

Midleton Farmers Market, Cork

This is the original Farmers Market in Ireland which was formed by Darina Allen and local farmers to provide an outlet for their produce in 2000. After 21 years you can still purchase produce from a variety of local farmers in Cork.

The Green Door Market, Dublin 12

The Green Door Market offers top quality food in an inviting space that allows you to meet the people who produce the food. From organic meat and cheese to olives, plants and paleo desserts there’s something for everyone.

Farmers Market, Ennis, Clare

Pick up loaves of bread and baked goods, free-range eggs, organic vegetables, artisan cheese, vegetarian and vegan delights, locally sourced meat and meat pies from local producers at the Ennis farmer’s market.

Photo: Ennis Farmers Market

Galway Market,  Galway

Visit Galway’s famous market right in the centre of the city and check out hundreds of stalls selling fresh produce and locally sourced crafts. From crepes, sushi to handmade chocolates, pick up ingredients for a delicious gourmet picnic.

Letterkenny Real Food and Farmers Market, Donegal  

Find everything you need from local fish, meat, fruit and vegetables, crafts and bakery (including gluten-free options) from local producers at the Letterkenny farmer’s market.

McNally Family Farm, Balrickard,  Dublin

McNallly are a family run certified organic farm since 1998. They specialise in growing a large variety of vegetables. Herbs, salads, roots and fruits.