Barbara Collins introduces Northern Ireland’s newest members of Economusée, an international network of artisans renowned for their excellence.


Broughgammon Farm in Ballycastle and Hillstown Farm in Randalstown are the latest members of Food NI to join the Économusée group, an international network of artisans renowned for their excellence.

The ÉCONOMUSÉE Craft Reach Northern Europe Project sees the combination of culture, craft and tourism as local artisans open their doors to visitors to watch them at work and learn about the heritage and traditions of their skill. Canada, Norway, Greenland, Iceland, The Faroe Islands, Sweden, Ireland and Northern Ireland are all partners involved in this initiative, which was developed in Québec. By March 2018 there will be 93 Économusée workshops across the 8 partner countries.

Each ÉCONOMUSÉE is carefully concocted to make your visit memorable. Whether it's outside on the porch, inside the front doors, or woven through the garden, the RECEPTION area is where you meet the artisan or one of their helpers, and get oriented to their trade and to the working studio you're about to explore.

The Cole family at Broughgammon Farm in Ballycastle, Co. Antrim describe themselves as “forward-thinking farmers” (and are winners of a Euro-Toques Food Award this year, see Special Irish Foods & the People Who Make Them). Charlie Cole started producing goat kid meat in 2011 and has now progressed to supplying high-welfare rose veal and seasonal wild game. These ingredients make up the main protein elements in their very popular street food offerings to be found at events across the island of Ireland. They run Good Life courses and are keen environmentalists. There is a small farm-shop and butchery on site.

Hillstown Brewery

Hillstown Brewery in Randalstown, Co. Antrim has also joined the fold. Here you can see up close how this traditional working farm has diversified to meet Northern Ireland’s growing demand for artisan products including craft beer and Wagyu-style beef, fed with Hillstown’s own brews. You can try and buy produce from the brewery and farm at the café and farm shop complete with a red Massey Ferguson tractor on the roof.

Broighter Gold rapeseed oil in Limavady, Co.Londonderry is the longest-standing member to be awarded Économusée status in Northern Ireland. It is a working family farm. Depending on the time of year you visit, you may see some of the fields being planted or harvested while you are there. One of the award-winning oils contains 24 carat gold to symbolise a hoard of gold found on the land.

Ursa Minor Bakehouse

Also recently welcomed into the fold is the Ursa Minor Bakehouse in Ballycastle. Founders Ciara and Dara O hArtghaile discovered delights like sourdough loaves and friands while living for a year in New Zealand. Both are self-taught bakers. Dara learned how to create sourdough by trial and experimentation until he felt he had mastered the craft. Ciara had been baking all her life at home with her family. She now specialises in sweet bakes, in particular her adored friands. Keen to keep the business on a sustainable scale, the finished products have very low transport miles and are exclusively available in this area of the north coast.

More members are sure to follow. If you are interested, please contact Tiérna Mullan- 028 2075 2100 / 07595 413 239 or Carole O’Kane- 028 2075 2100 / 07595 068 174.


Barbara CollinsBarbara Collins is a BBC journalist and freelance food, travel and agricultural writer. She contributes regularly to Countryfile magazine, the Farmers Guardian, the Irish News, FFT and the Irish Mail on Sunday. She was Chief Food Writer for Flavour magazine. She is a member of both the UK and Irish Food Writers’ Guilds and splits her time between Belfast and Galway. Barbara also does menu consultancy and copywriting.


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