By Karen Graham July 7, 2014
A newly established artisan food group, the Sperrin Dairy Group, has launched their website and is encouraging more producers to become involved.
The Sperrin Dairy Group seeks to encourage the development of a network of artisan producers in the wider Sperrins area. Founding member, Kevin Hickey of Tamnagh Foods, based in the village of Park, Co. Londonderry, said, “The Sperrins are one of Northern Ireland’s greatest natural assets farmed by generations of families and this is the time to encourage artisan food production and brand the region as an area of handcrafted artisan food products.”
Alan Montgomery, of Countryside Services, said they saw the development of the Group as part of a longer term strategy. “Through the Supply Chain Development Programme we were delighted to provide assistance to the Sperrin Dairy Group to create the foundations to support their plans to provide umbrella marketing and regional branding opportunities for the Sperrins area in the future.”
“Joining the Supply Chain Development Programme gave us access to a lot of expertise, including that of group facilitator James Coyle”, continued Kevin, “ We were able to create a brand and a website to both promote and encourage new and existing producers in the region.”
The third and oldest highland area of Northern Ireland is the Sperrin Mountains, and the Sperrin Dairy Group is encouraging artisan food producers to work together, using the local supply chain, to build unique products showcasing the Sperrins region. Free to join, members can use the new logo identify their products provenance to an increasingly demanding consumer, and support the growth of food tourism across this part of Counties Derry and Tyrone.
The Group facilitator, James Coyle, said “ To be able to support a project that will encourage producers to work together to promote the Sperrins as an area of quality artisan dairy products that uniquely reflect the heritage, history and landscape of the region, is a key objective of the Supply Chain Programme so is very worthy of support and encouragement”.
One producer member Dart Mountain Cheese Company, named after a nearby mountain in the Sperrins, has begun using the new logo on their packaging. Julie Hickey, cheese maker, said “it’s great to be able to use the new logo as it helps to build a sense of place in the eyes of the consumer. It’s not just some cheese, it’s a cheese from the Sperrins.”
DartMountain Cheese has just released their first cheese, Sperrin Blue, onto the foodservice market via Henderson’s Food Service. Sperrin Blue Cheese, using local milk, is handmade in small batches using traditional methods, and then aged for up to 6 weeks to maximise flavour before release.