A few months ago I was having a good old moan (yes me, I am afraid I was), about the lack of Farmer's Markets, locally grown produce, quality food sellers in Northern Ireland. Well I feel a bit of a tit now, because there are places, wonderful places, and I just wasn't looking properly. One such place is Slemish Market Garden, which is only down the road from me, in Ballymena, has been going for 4 years, and I was oblivious to it all! A friend introduced me a few weeks ago and I have been going as often as I can ever since.
You will find all sorts of produce growing here, in the fields and polytunnels from tomatoes, potatoes, apples, plums, kale, broccoli,garlic,pumpkins to all kinds of cottage garden plants. You are given a basket and invited to pick your own , or you can call in at the shop, to see what's on offer. They have a resident jam maker, who is putting the produce to good use. The roof of the shop is hung with bunches of garlic at the moment and the smell is intoxicating. The couple who own the business are extremely obliging and helpful and always take time to chat. (Actually you can't just nip in and out, it takes time at this place, which to me adds to it's charm. They have three resident sheepdogs, which entices my daughter to come along, and a field full of very healthy looking free range chickens.
It's wonderful. I am totally sold on it, and everything I have bought has been delicious. My daughter even managed to eat half a bag of cherry tomatoes on the way home, (that's a first).They have a lovely blog on Tumblr,slemishmarketgarden.tumblr and a Facebook page.
Some of the produce I brought home on my last visit. The potatoes were particularly good.
|What was left of the tomatoes after Lois demolished them!|
|I do love homemade marmalade.|
I was also re-acquainted with a couple of other good places, but I will tel you about those another day.
My friend Lynne from the blog Dreams on 34th Strreet,http://dreamson34thstreet.blogspot.com/ has been growing Artichokes in her garden in America. I am so impressed with them, they are growing in pots, and she was inspired to grow them after she read about my love of them on one of my posts. She has very kindly dedicated her post today to me, in honour of her Artichokes, and here thy are....
|Don't they look terrific? Thankyou Lynne!|
Wishing you all a wonderful week, full of good wholesome produce. Love Linda x