I like to buy Irish if I can, especially when it comes to food stuffs. My dad is a dairy farmer & from that background alone I have an appreciation of the importance of supporting local food producers. Ireland produces some fantastic food from beef to cheese and all sorts in besides. This and the fact that one of Ireland’s biggest retailers, Dunnes Stores, have been advertising with the slogan “the difference is, we’re Irish” for the past while has irked me on examination of some of my purchases there recently.
Garlic comes from China. Mangetout (which I had to chuck due to some kind of caterpillar having made the journey within) came from Kenya. Herbs came from Thailand. I wouldn’t have questioned the origin of the garlic in particular had it not been for the awful quality of it.
I’m not naive enough to expect or presume that because Dunnes Stores is an Irish retailer using “Irishness” as a means of attracting Irish consumers that they should stock only Irish goods. It’s impossible. But I can’t help but question why more fresh products such as the ones specified above are not of Irish origin. Is it really cheaper & easier to ship the stuff from the other side of the earth? Is it all down to seasonal availability?
Farmers markets have taken off around the country in the last few years including in my hometown of Ballyvaughan and on a whole they appear to be thriving. It’s of fantastic benefit to all involved – the producers, the consumers and the community. There’s a list of all the Farmers Markets here on the Bord Bia website. If you haven’t been before then I’d say give it a try & you’ll probably never want to set foot in Dunnes, Tesco or M&S ever again.