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Minister Coveney opens Mitchelstown Artisan Food Festival 2011

- small food businesses integral to local economy and food Tourism -

Opening the Mitchelstown Artisan Food Festival today, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, paid tribute to the skills and passion for fine food on show. "I am hugely impressed with the Festival, which has been organised with such enthusiasm by the local business and food communities to showcase Mitchelstown's rich heritage of artisan foods. Small food businesses not only bring investment returns for individual businesses but also underpin the local community and Ireland as a provider of high quality, innovative and sustainable food excellence".

The Minister added that the Food Harvest 2020 report identified close linkages between Food and Tourism development, particularly for artisan foods. "The number and quality of food festivals throughout the country are key features in attracting increased numbers of visitors to particular locations to enjoy really good food experiences".  Showcasing locally produced food was central to promoting the qualities of Irish food. Bord Bia research showed increased consumer awareness of locally produced food.  Sponsorship of food festivals and awards, in this case by Reidy's Supervalu, Ballyhoura Leader and Bullseye Food Marketing, was a mark of confidence in the sector.

The Minister welcomed the increase in CAO applications for Agricultural Science courses as a strong skills base and capacity to innovate were required along the food chain to maintain the strong agri-food export performances recorded in 2010 and 2011 to date.

Note for Editors

The Mitchelstown Food Festival began over 10 years ago as a local community project.  This year it is being re-launched as the inaugural "Mitchelstown Artisan Food Festival and Food Awards" by Kevin Dundon (food writer and television personality) and is sponsored by Reidy’s Supervalu, Ballyhoura Leader and Bullseye Food Marketing.

Food Harvest 2020 identified the rise in small artisan food companies with a level of innovation and potential to enrich Ireland's tourism.   

Date Released: 28 August 2011