Ballycastle farm stocks up on rich flavours from original food link up

Pioneering Co Antrim farmer Charlie Cole of Broughgammon Farm is leading the way in creating innovative foods that also support its focus on sustainability in areas such as waste reduction and preservation of the local environment.

By Sam Butler
Saturday, 22nd January 2022, 6:00 am

Based outside Ballycastle and overlooking the rugged North Antrim Coast, Broughgammon has developed an impressive portfolio of original products from goats and calves reared on what has become a leading UK eco-farm.

The latest product to join the range is a rose veal bone stock for a number of applications such as delicious soups and gravy.

The meats are traditionally craft butchered on the farm into a range of artisan products. The meats are available direct from the farm-shop, face to face at farmer’s markets, from the street food trailer, online, or from restaurants, shops and delis further afield.

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Charlie Cole with wife Becky and other members of the Broughgammon family team

Known throughout the UK and Ireland for its award-winning range of goat and veal meat products, the new stock was created by Charlie in collaboration with Londonderry artisan business Carol’s Stock Market, a successful producer of beef, chicken, turkey and vegetable stocks as well as broths.

The new veal bone stock is a traditional handmade stock without additives and preserves, according to Charlie who runs the unique farm enterprise with wife Becky and other members of his family.

“It’s a really tasty stock for a wide range of cookery applications at home and hospitality outlets,” he explains. “Our new stock is another example of our important collaboration with a local artisan business and follows on from our successful tie-up with Corndale Free Range Farm charcuterie producer in Limavady on a unique rose veal salami.

“The stock has a great flavour, deep and layered, as its made with meaty bones and vegetables. The texture it pretty gelatinous, a sign of a top quality stock. It can be used for anything from sauces to soups. Bone broth is also said to contain minerals and plenty of amazing amino acids that help promote a strong body especially the gut and skin. So we drink it by the cupful!

Charlie Cole of Broughgammon Farm in Ballycastle is pictured with celebrity chef Paula McIntyre, an enthusiastic supporter of the farm’s food products and those from Carol’s Stock Market

“We appreciate greatly the advice on the recipe and manufacturing expertise of Carol Banahan of Carol’s Stock Market in helping to create the new stock from bones from our free range calves which we provided in our longstanding focus on sustainability, central to which is commitment to eliminate waste wherever possible throughout our farm operations.”

Carol Banahan, an experienced chef, describes the new stock as “a wonderfully delicious product that I absolutely love working with”.

The new stock is currently available in 500ml pouches through the Broughgammon website (www.broughgammom.com) and at farmers’ markets. A growing number of delis here are adding the stock.

Charlie says recent EU approval of the farm’s plans enabled the family company to expand its operations and increase opportunities for further collaborations with other local artisan producers.

“Our belief in a sustainable food chain has seen us promote local diversification, encouraging other farmers with by-products to think differently and to collaborate with other producers on the creation of innovative foods,” Charlie continues.

The forward thinking family food producer has become a role model of sustainability and successful diversification in other farm activities as well as foods. An essential element in this diversification is the development of a farm shop for its own products and those from other local suppliers and a small café.

“We are serve up a menu including our artisan meat products as well as using other local products. The mood is cosy, rustic and casual,” Becky Cole adds. “It’s become an important part of the business as we also use it for a multitude of events, workshops and hub for the community.”

Charlie has resumed its popular courses in butchery, cookery and harvesting sea vegetables after the coronavirus lockdowns. Other courses include

chocolate making and cheese production. In addition, the farm has committed to extensive tree planting and hedgerow restoration.

The farm-based company has experienced growth in online meat box sales from its artisan butchery. In addition to goats and calves, the farm keeps pigs, chickens and geese for their own use.

Other sustainability measures include solar thermal heating for the farmhouse, an air-source heat pump, a wood pellet boiler and a wood stove.

Wastewater, furthermore, is recycled through an innovative reed bed system.

The farm’s reputation as an important role model of an innovative small business committed to sustainability has also been recognised by the international Économusée network which promotes its members and offers opportunities for people to visit to see how they operate.

The Économusée concept was developed in Québec and involves partners from Canada, Norway, Sweden, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

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