About Me

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antrim, antrim, Ireland
Hello and welcome to my blog. If you like flowers and gardens, housey stuff, food and banter, then this is the place for you. I am a decorative artist, florist and maker of things. I sell painted furniture, plants and crafts, through a local retail shop, in my native Ireland, and wedding flowers from home. I am married to a lovely patient man and have a smashing little girl. I blog for the fun of it. Thank you for listening.

Monday, 3 October 2011

It's amazing what you see....when you open your eyes!

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


  1. Dear Linda

    What a joyful surprise to find this right in your own backyard. Be careful what you wish for! Dreams do come true!! I love all the images and I am feeling hungry as I eye the potatoes and garlic and tomatoes. Then it gets better with the homemade jam.
    How fabulous.

    Have a delightful week Linda
    Helen xx

  2. Hello Linda,
    Your post and lovely photographs have inspired me! I must look our for and visit a proper local Farmer's Market. It's too easy just to be too busy...Jane x

  3. Hello Linda:
    First, we must say how wonderful your header picture is of all those wonderful looking apples which will, we know, have been carefully chosen by you as a suitable image for the season. Which it is!

    We are delighted that you have discovered produce direct from Slemish Market Garden which really does look very good and which we are certain must taste delicious. So much better than from a supermarket.

    We are most fortunate here in as much as all of our fruit and vegetables come from the market, most of it sold by the people who have grown it in the countryside and bring it daily into the city. A restricted choice, maybe, but so much better.

  4. Beautiful pics and such a great produce!!! ENjoy it!! a big kiss

  5. I love your new header....xxx isn't it fabulous to find a Farmers Market like that, it makes such a difference to what you eat and the beauty of the stalls is worth the visit alone...I will look up their blog too
    Hugs Lynn xxx

  6. Hi Linda, there is something so special about farmers markets isn't there. You know everything is so fresh, it's all seasonal, and you learn something about the source. No wonder your daughter ate all those cherry tomatoes, they look delicious! My girls would be tucking in too.
    Thanks for visiting my blog last week, and apologies for not returning the compliment until now. It's lovely to find you.
    Amanda xx
    P.S I'm totally a sucker for good packaging - love those vintage inspired tins especially.

  7. I'm chuckling as I read your post because I encountered the same thing when we lived in Ireland! Unless you hear by word-of-mouth, you would never know about so many lovely things that exist practically in your own backyard! Your pics are lovely and what a treat to have discovered this amazing place. xo

  8. Linda,

    It all looks really charming and the vegetables so delicious! That chicken must be the happiest creature on Earth!

    Like you, I love artichokes, but most of the ones I have seen in UK, on the rare occasions, tend to be the French rounded ones (can't do much with them!) whereas in Italy we have slender, elongated artichokes which we do a lot of dishes with(I love them stuffed and also as a main ingredient for a pasta sauce! Now I feel hungry!)

    I would love to visit the market garden. Sounds fantastic!


  9. Lucky you to have such a great place so near. We have a couple of farm shops, though they are both so full of prepacked foods in plastic I am amazed they have the gall to call themselves that. The other is at a very touristy place, and therefore very expensive. The nearest farmers market is 40 mins drive away so not worth it.

  10. I'm so glad you discovered that lovely place so near to you after all...that kind of thing happens to me too. Now you can have all sorts of delicious produce regularly....the potatoes, tomatoes and garlic look wonderful and I really love homemade jam and marmalade (we have just been given some homemade ginger and rhubarb jam which is delicious!) I love your apple wreath header picture, it looks so perfect for autumn. Have a happy week, Linda.
    Helen x

  11. Farmers Markets are the best! We always go to our local market every Thursday, I love the choice on offer.
    Discovered your blog through our mutual pal LindyLouMac, your picture list of things you love is wonderful!

  12. Hi Linda

    Just love the apples decorating the top of your blog, they look absolutely beautiful.
    Is it one of your own creations? If so I am soooooo impressee!!!

    I wish that we had a farmer's market near here but sadly not.

    Great to read about your daughter eating the tomatoes! They must be good!

    Hope that the weather is good in your part of the world and that you haven't had all that horrible rain that we have been having here!!

    Take care Linda

    x Fiona

  13. Hello Linda :) I love the header of the apple wreath you made, it really is wonderful. I will have to make one to hang on Spotty's stable door! The Slemish Market Garden you have discovered looks amazing, so many lovely things on offer. And as always your pictures have made everything look even more appealing. I like to go to farmers markets and farm shops. I feel lucky as I live in the countryside but also near a Market town so there are many to visit.
    Love, Abby xx

  14. The concept of Farmers Markets has, sort of, reached us here in The North but only once a year as a quasi tourist attraction. So, how delightful that you have found such good places where you can shop regularly.

    Your apple wreath has made a spectacular header.
    Thanks for your visits and such sweet comments.
    Have a good week.


  15. What a wonderful place. You are blessed to have this nearby. Your new header is great. I love fall and I need to do a new fall header very soon. I'm still in full summer form.

  16. Lucky for me:) in weekends I can still visit two farmers market who sell locally grown produce, quality food and that only takes a few walks from my apartment.

    Isn't it lovely:)

  17. Hi Linda

    I think I am more than a bit wistful of your market - I was thinking about this very thing just a few days ago...wishing we had something like that here. Maybe there is and I don't know - just as you didn't know about yours. I should investigate because more and more I am fed up with the big supermarkets and would love to support our local farmers.

    Hope you are well.

  18. A brilliant discovery! Thankyou for your lovely comments on News From Italy, I am busy posting all my recent book reviews at the moment before we set off.
    Take Care and have a lovely Autumn my friend, i will be back next month.

  19. Hello dear Linda!
    Thank you so much for the shout out! I'm thrilled that you found the Slemish Market!
    Your photographs are wonderful! I LOVE YOUR NEW BANNER WITH THE APPLE WREATH! It's stunning! I am hoping to paint our front door black while Mr Dreams is on his annual cast & blast in a couple weeks! Happy Autumn, my friend!

  20. Dear Linda,

    I wish we had farmers markets around here. Guess, I better check first :-)! You took some delicious fruit and vegetables with you.

    Have a lovely evening,

    Madelief x

  21. I love farmer's markets and veg bought from individual growers but having home grown is best. I can't wait to finish our back garden so that we may have a vegetable plot!
    Isabelle x

  22. Thanks for stopping by my blog to say hi! your farmers market finds look delicious :)!!! Christie

  23. Frank, Linda and Matt @slemish market garden14 October 2011 at 12:49

    Linda you wonderful person , thank's for saying such nice things about our garden , you see this is a big problem for us ,we just can't separate customers from friends . (you're going to get a big hug when you next call) so be warned .


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