A tour across the changing culinary landscape of Ireland

Midleton Farmers’ Market

Shoppers at the Ballymaloe stall
Co. Cork is bursting with bountiful food: from eateries to food producers to markets. Driving about twenty minutes brought us to the town of Midleton, and the Saturday morning Midleton Farmers’ Market. Darina Allen was instrumental in founding the market; in nearby Shanagarry is the famed Ballymaloe House Hotel and Cookery School started by the legendary Myrtle Allen and brought to the forefront of cooking schools with the work of Darina, her daughter in-law.

Darina Allen’s cookbooks are required reading for Irish cooking enthusiasts. She explores the complex history behind the use of certain foods and provides numerous variations for traditional recipes. I highly recommend Forgotten Skills of Cooking. The Allen family are recipe “collectors” in the same way the great Sarah Makem was a song collector. With the spirit of Irish music and cooking in mind, markets are the perfect way to celebrate Ireland’s past and her future.
Bread at the Midleton Farmers

Freshly baked bread. Take a stroll into town after you buy bread and coffee. Delightful downtown area.

Everything for a sweet tooth

Add one pot of tea.

Salads abound

Something healthy for every diet.

Veggies in Midleton
A fitting start to our journey in Cork, Midleton Farmers” Market features delicious produce, small batch chocolates, baked goods, mushrooms, and healthy salads. It was a lovely sunny morning as we walked around. I found a tasty green juice, since we had already had a breakfast at our Bed and Breakfast. At the Ballymaloe Stall, I picked up some Elderflower Cordial that was the perfect match for my Highbank Orchard Gin. So began my current obsession with the stuff! Check out my recipe to make your own cordial!

A short walk from the market is the town itself. Midleton is quaint with a great foodie scene. Local Sage Restaurant is owned by award winning Irish chef Keith Aherne, who led the charge for the 12 Mile movement (where dishes are created using ingredients sourced within twelve miles of the eatery, watch the video about 12 Mile to learn more).

In the span of barely two days, we hit three markets, numerous restaurants, and a million picturesque views – but missed so much! A great resource for all things Cork is Seán Monaghan’s website. He is the filmmaker behind 12 Mile and created the book, A Taste of Cork, which was a helpful introduction to the food of Co. Cork. A book that also made me realize we would need to come back to Cork and stay longer, which is the plan!
Lemon tarts

Lemon tarts. Sweet treats were to be found aplenty at the market, as were healthy salads and juices. An entire stall was devoted to gluten free baked goods.

Vegetables in Midleton

Farm fresh veg.

Savory offerings
Libby in Midleton

Me taking notes.

Salad choices

Assorted salads.

Fresh salmon




Mushroom condiments

Mushroom based condiments.

Next stop: Elbow Lane . . .