Vegetable producers are feeling festive

Saturday, 3 December, 2016

The countdown to Christmas is on and Northern Ireland’s vegetable and potato growers are busy harvesting the top quality sprout, cabbage, root veg and potato crops for our festive dinners this holiday season.

To highlight the hard work of growers, packers and distributors the UFU have teamed up with the North Down Group and their growers to create a short film, to show the field to fork journey of Northern Ireland’s vegetables.

UFU deputy president Ivor Ferguson said; “Often dairy and beef can get the headlines but our vegetable and potato sectors are an important part of our agriculture industry. In the run up to Christmas we wanted to highlight the top quality, locally grown vegetables and potatoes produced by our growers. And if shoppers and diners want the best for their dinner plates, they don’t need to go very far.

“The video is a bit of fun but there is a serious message about how important it is to buy local and support local businesses. The agri-food industry is a significant contributor to Northern Ireland’s economy, and while Northern Ireland is a small place but when it comes to agriculture and food we do tend to punch above our weight.”

Vegetable grower and vice chairman of the UFU vegetable committee, Adrian McGowan of Millbank Farm, Killinchy, produces 40 tonnes of turnips and 10 tonnes of leeks for the festive season. "Our route to market for produce has changed over the years but the farms have been growing vegetables for generations," said he said.

The UFU, along with growers and representatives from the North Down Group will be hosting a stall at the Belfast Christmas Markets this weekend (December 3rd and 4th) showcasing the variety and quality of the vegetables and potatoes produced in Northern Ireland and encouraging shoppers to add local vegetables to their plates this Christmas.

“December is a busy month but we wouldn’t have it any other way. Our growers deliver fresh, high quality seasonal produce and we are in an ideal position to distribute it quickly to various shops, hotels and restaurants throughout Northern Ireland,” said Sam Robinson of the North Down Group.

He also added, “At this time of year, often our vegetables can be harvested from a field in the morning and on someone’s plate that evening. That’s another benefit of supporting local, a shopper or diner won’t get that kind of freshness from veg imported from elsewhere.”