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Philip Meade Jr. and Jonathon Fahy headed down to the sunny southeast recently to meet up with the growers who specialise in producing Ireland's finest New Season Potatoes for us. Having met with James, Eamon, Tom and Simon, they are looking forward to another premium quality crop. The Wexford soil is ideal for these early potatoes and this, combined with the expertise that these growers bring to their crops, means that our New Season potatoes will be as tasty as ever - a real treat for spud connoisseurs waiting to tuck in to the new season.
Our Farm Manager Conor O'Malley and our team of growers have been busy this past month planting potatoes and carrots. Now the hard work of monitoring and nurturing the crops begins. The early potatoes will be harvested in June, the carrots in July and the main crop potatoes in late August.
Here are a selection of pictures from left to right, top to bottom:
INCREDIBLE EDIBLES HELPS NATIONAL SCHOOL STUDENTS RING IN SPRING BY GROWING FRUIT AND VEGETABLES
The agri-food educational body Agri Aware signalled the start of spring by launching the primary school healthy eating initiative Incredible Edibles with the help of the students of St. Phillips NS, Clonsilla, Dublin 15. They have received a great response with 46% of all national schools signed up to the programme which encourages schools across the country to grow their own strawberries, potatoes, carrots, lettuce, turnips and herbs by supplying packs containing everything they need to become growers. Compost and seeds are sent out, while classroom curriculum-linked activity sheets, log books, growing planners and growing videos can be downloaded from the Incredible Edibles website. By the end of the schoolyear students enjoy the fruits of their labour with early season spuds, tasty strawberries and fresh carrots among the produce to be enjoyed.
Eleanor Meade of Meade Potato Company, a sponsor of the programme, joined other sponsors and supporters from the IFA, Bord Bia, the Department of Agriculture, Healthy Ireland, the Department of Education and Agri Aware to watch as the inaugural group of students got digging. This hands-on approach to growing produce and educating students about nutrition will hopefully encourage young people to eat their seven plus a day of fruit and vegetables.
“With the importance of healthy eating being such a vital lesson for children to learn, we are delighted to be long-time sponsors of this programme. It gives children an insight into how fruit and vegetables are grown, and why they are so nutritious; the sense of accomplishment and fun in watching their gardens grow is a real draw for students. They learn to appreciate the hard work that goes into producing food. This should ultimately help students appreciate agriculture and sustainability as they get older. It’s a win/win programme on all fronts: healthy eating, agriculture, science and the environment. If your local school hasn’t registered, it’s time to get online and get growing,” commented Eleanor Meade of Meade Potato Company.
You can find out more information online at www.incredibleedibles.ie. Entries are closed for this year, but make sure to mark your calendar for next year.
Pictured left to right at the Incredible Edibles launch at St. Phillips NS, Clonsilla, Dublin 15 are: Mike Neary, Bord Bia; the St. Phllips NS student rep; Deirdre O’Shea, Agri Aware; Eleanor Meade, Meade Potato Co. and Richard Moeran, AgriAware, all ready to start their planting.
The 6th Meath Spring Half Marathon & 10k which incorporated the 44th Rennicks Cup & 41st Fr Delany cup & the Meath Half Harathon Championship was held by Bohermeen AC on March 19th. The event has grown into one of the most popular events in Ireland; people made the journey from 28 counties of Ireland to the event, which is a highlight of the athletics calendar.
Meade Potato Co. were happy to join in by demonstrating our commitment to promoting a healthy lifestyle and healthy eating through our sponsorship of fruit for the third year running. After Tony picked up the fruit, the younger members of the club joined in the packing of the goody bags.
Meade Participates in Health Promotion Event at Dunboyne College of Further Education
On Friday 10th March Level 6 Health Care Supervision students, along with their Health Promotion Tutor, Patrice Byrne, organised a Healthy Eating Event in the college. The aim of the health promotion event was to encourage students to incorporate healthy eating options into their diet in an effort to improve their overall health and wellbeing. Grainne Whelehan, Nutritionist, kindly agreed to come and speak with the students and gave a very entertaining presentation on nutrition and healthy eating. We were joined by Avonmore/Glanbia, Brennan’s Bread, Fyffes, Gempack/Sowan’s Food Products, Glenisk Yogurts and Irish Pride in showcasing the benefits of Ireland's healthy foods.
Meade Potato Company were delighted to hear that the produce we have donated to the Crosscare community foodbank has gone towards making 70,000 meals for people in need in 2016. The potatoes, carrots and other fruit and vegetables that we give the Crosscare foobank every week are re-distributed to people who are in need of some support in meeting their weekly food supply.
Our produce donations to foodcloud, another leading community foodbank in Dublin, for the period from Oct-Dec 2016 helped to make 15,180 meals for people in need. Foodcloud successfully re-distributed 6.9 tonnes of surplus food and thereby saved 8.1 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
Our commitment to channelling surplus food to community foodbanks is a pillar of our sustainability plan, and one which we believe reaps high rewards.
We rounded out an excellent year on Dec. 23 by honouring the hard work of all of our teams at our annual Christmas awards gathering. While narrowing an award down to one winner is always difficult with a staff who are all hard working, we singled out five candidates who deserved special recognition.
Winning the Employee of the Quarter Award in the Vegetable Division was Donnacha Farrell whose attention to detail and conscientiousness are a great asset to the team. Simas Silianskas won the Employee of the Year for his efficiency with our IT systems and his industriousness in the dispatch department. Pictured below left is Donnacha Farrell with Mark and Peter, and pictured below right is Simas with Patrick, Mark and Peter.
We were able to do a joint presentation as the Employee of the Quarter and Employee of the Year were won by the same person in the Fruit Division. Daiva Dziaugyte has been a real champion of recent IT improvements. She has been brilliant at helping the team to implement these upgrades. Here she is pictured with Ronan, Darragh and Patrick.
While celebrating the hard work of our entire team in the Potato Division, Rory Young nabbed the Employee of the Quarter Award for his efficiency in the potato yard and Mantas Vaitekunas took the Potato Div. Employee of the Year Award for his incredible work ethic. Pictured below left is Rory with Tommy and Philip Jr. Pictured below right is Mantas with Tommy and Philip Jr.
With nominations for Health & Safety, Sustainability, as well as Fruit and Vegetable Agribusiness of the Year 2016, Meade Potato Company were delighted to take home the latter award for the second year running. The Fruit and Vegetable Agribusiness of the Year is designed to provide a voice for the individuals and organisations that play a significant role in the growth and development of the agribusiness industry in Ireland. The Awards cater for all sectors who contribute to the fantastic achievements within the agri-food.
A factor in Meade Potato Company's award was their best practice leadership in sustainability for the fruit and vegetable sector. "We were honoured to be chosen for the second year in a row; it is recognition that once again ourselves and our team of growers have achieved excellent standards of practice ," said Philip Meade Jr. of the award.
Pictured above are Minister for State for Food, Forestry & Horticulture Andrew Doyle and Philip Meade Jr. of Meade Potato Co.
Meade Potato Company's waste prevention programme was rewarded recently when we received the Repak Food Waste Management Award and went on to win the overall Pakman Award 2016.
Our food waste prevention programme is conducted on two fronts - channelling our food effectively to avoid waste and also educating consumers so that the end user is less likely to waste fresh produce. By ensuring that we have suitable markets for all our produce - retailers, processors, community food banks and last resort as stockfeed, we have achieved zero food waste.
Our consumer awareness efforts are centred around working with waste prevention advocacy groups like foodcloud, VOICE/Food Rescue and Feed the 5000 on special events and by posting food waste prevention tips on social media and our website. We have plans to expand our website waste prevention section, and look forward to working with Repak, as well as Bord Bia's Origin Green programme, in future to discover further ways of protecting our resources.
A YEAR OF HARD WORK REWARDED
Meade Potato Co. are honoured to have been nominated for a few different awards this year in various areas of operation recently including our website, sustainability, supply chain and health & safety.
CAN WE MAKE IT A DOUBLE?
In the Agribusiness Awards 2016, we have again been nominated for Fruit and Vegetable AgriBusiness of the Year. Having won this prestigious award last year, we hope we might make it a double and retain the crown again this year! We are also very proud of the Excellence in Health & Safety Award which is a recognition of the brilliant safety record we have in our farm and food production facility. The investments we have made both in extensive automated training and safety measures around the factory floor have resulted in very low rates of workplace accidents. Lastly, our sustainability record has been recognised again by the AgriBusiness Awards. Our waste prevention work is something of which we are proud, so recognition of that is very much appreciated.
ZERO FOOD WASTE IS A RESULT OF TOTAL FOOD MANAGEMENT
The Repak Awards also recognise work done on the sustainability front, and we are thrilled to have our efforts to effectively and sustainably channel food waste earn us a Food Waste Management Award nomination. Our desire to get the most out of all of our crops means that we are adept at finding markets for all our produce. Our new peeled potato range for the catering and wholesale sector has given us a great new market for our potatoes, with feedback from our customers being very positive. We channel as much of our produce as possible for the processing sector and community foodbanks with remaining produce and Class 2 going for stock feed locally. All these efforts translate into zero food waste for Meade Potato Company, which then translates into a better, more sustainable environment.
A WEBSITE WE CAN BE PROUD OF
We were also nominated for the Dot IE Awards in the category of Website Most Joyous to Look At and Fun to Use. While we were up against stiff competition from Neven Maguire's 1000 Days website and the Easter Commememoration websites, we were thrilled with the nomination for all the hardwork by Floweb, our web designers, and for all the content posted by yours truly!