AS the Royal Ulster Agri-cultural Society (RUAS) prepares to open the gates at Balmoral Park for the 153rd Balmoral Show, Platinum Sponsor Marks & Spencer is set to showcase its commitment to local agriculture and farming sustainability.
Steve McLean, Head of Agriculture at M&S, said: “M&S has always led the field in our support for local agriculture and farming sustainability and the Balmoral Show is the perfect platform for us to showcase our long-standing commitment to farmers and producers across the country.”
Northern Ireland is a major supply region for the M&S food business with beef, venison, chicken, potatoes, bread and eggs produced not only for Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland stores, but also for many stores across the UK.
Steve continues: “We’re delighted to be back at Balmoral Show, the most important event in the rural calendar. The show provides us with a fantastic opportunity to say a huge thank you to our customers, colleagues, farmers and producers here and to celebrate the marvellous relationships we have with them.
“Over the four days of the show, M&S will showcase our suppliers who bring the very best of regional food to our stores here. We firmly believe that great food comes from great ingredients, produced by the best farmers and growers.
“They include father and son Maurice and William Kells, who farm together in County Armagh, rearing beef for us through Linden Foods, alongside a number of local farmers who supply M&S with high-welfare, fresh eggs through Skea Egg Farms.
“We will host the M&S Select Farm Awards on day one of the show when we will present a series of awards to our Select Farmers who have demonstrated best-in-class practices in terms of innovation, welfare, sustainability and bio-diversity. Our show stand will bring the very best of M&S to life for our customers, farmers and growers and demonstrate our commitment to farming initiatives through a selection of interactive consumer experiences.
“Customers will be able to meet both new chicks supplied by Skea Egg Farms, and two Wagyu calves provided by Keith Williamson of Linden Foods, our meat processing partner in Northern Ireland. As the only major retailer who can trace all our beef back to every farm and animal, we will explain our DNA testing process. We trace every animal, we know what it has been fed and where it came from – we trace it, so you can trust it.”
Visitors will also be able to see live chef demonstrations, where M&S demo chef Adam Palmer will cook regional and seasonal dishes, alongside local M&S suppliers showcasing the very best of M&S products. There will also be an opportunity to sample a selection of the retailer’s delicious products, witness their passion for quality and innovation and discover the extraordinary lengths M&S goes to to bring their customers such fantastic food.
Steve continues: “In this our 19th year as Platinum Sponsor, M&S will continue to sponsor a selection of the beef livestock classes. These will take place at the cattle lawns on 11th May and include the Aberdeen Angus, Beef Interbreed Championships, as well as Beef Young Handler classes.
“We will also continue our sponsorship of the Media Centre, which will see M&S providing lunch for all journalists attending the show.
“Visitors will also have the opportunity to visit the retail shop selling lunchtime snacks from the M&S ‘Food to Go’ range and our ‘Coffee To Go’ area.”
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