By Sam Butler
MEADOW Farm Quality Foods in Armagh has won its first business with Spar NI for a range of innovative smoked meats under its Orchard Smokehouse brand.
Based on a cattle farm owned by Martin Rafferty near Armagh city, the company smokes its own meats for both retail and wholesale customers in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The business with Spar is the company’s first with the retailer and will see its meats in stores here.
Spar is listing four Orchard meats – smoked duck fillet, smoked chicken, smoked gammon and smoked turkey.
Meadow Farm has also won business with Aldi Ireland under the innovative Grow with Aldi scheme for smaller food and drink companies for its smoked duck fillets.
Meadow Farm director Frank Foster, commenting on the new business, says: “We are thrilled to be supplying the Henderson Group in Northern Ireland for its extensive network of Spar outlets. The contract gives us extensive access throughout Northern Ireland and we’ll be working with Spar to build on his important business for us.”
All the meats are naturally smoked using traditional artisan techniques over beech and oak chips.
Meadow Farm is a successful supplier of a very broad range of quality smoked meats for foodservice, especially high-end restaurants and hotels, in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
The Meadow Farm and the new Orchard Smokehouse smoked meats are all free from gluten, dairy and wheat and ready to eat, both hot and cold.
The quality conscious Meadow Farm business, established in 2009, has two separate smokers and a modern processing unit. It currently employs five people.
“The decision to develop the retail range is the result of the outstanding success of our foodservice smoked products and approaches from customers who have enjoyed them in hotels and restaurants,” says Mr Foster, who has vast experience in food production, especially beef and lamb.
“The new products are also the outcome of extensive market research to pinpoint opportunities in the UK and Ireland,” he explains.
Mr Foster runs the farm-based smokery business with Mr Rafferty, a master butcher and the main smoker, on the 60 acre cattle farm. Mr Foster also runs his own cattle farm on 50 acres near Loughgall in Armagh.
“We’ve also achieved SALSA accreditation which should be extremely beneficial as we seek to expand retail sales throughout Ireland and in Great Britain, an important market for us going forward,” Mr Foster adds.