The Garden Village at the Balmoral Show has been carefully designed to educate the public about where their food comes from – and to encourage loyalty to local produce.
Amidst a range of home-grown food displays, Jenny Carlton was demonstrating cookery of local produce.
“We are showing how much better things taste coming from nearer home – compared to bringing it in from far-off countries,” she said.
She was promoting beef from Cullybackey and a vegetable called Pak Choy which is being grown by a local farmer.
“It’s like celery and lettuce with a spicy taste – you can eat it as a salad or put it in a minute before you dish out your stew.”
She was also preparing dishes with local carrots, onions, egg salad and soda and potato bread.
“The reaction has been absolutely fantastic,” she said. “We hope the message about using local produce is getting across.”
Elaine Chapman from the Department of Agriculture and the Northern Ireland Stakeholder Potato Promotion Group was on “the Mighty Spud” exhibit.
“The aim is to encourage the general public to eat more potatoes,” she said. “They are a very healthy food – fat-free – and they have so many uses and variations.
“Potato consumption is declining especially among younger people, they are foregoing it for pasta rice and pizza.
“But even Slimming World allow them as a ‘free food’ so long as you don’t use fattening toppings.”
As tasty alternatives she advocated mash made with heated milk instead of butter, and chips made with sliced potatoes sprayed with ‘one-cal’ spray and then baked in the oven.