Long Meadow Cider safe bet for faster growth

Long Meadow Cider, the multi-award-winning producer of ciders, apple juice and apple cider vinegar in Northern Ireland, has achieved SALSA – Safe and Local Accreditation as step towards greater sales in supermarkets and other major retailers. The company is a Food NI member.

The family-owned and managed business, located at the heart of Northern Ireland’s ‘Orchard Country in Loughgall, is implementing a major growth strategy to accelerate sales of its ciders, juices and apple cider vinegar in Northern Ireland, Great Britain, the Republic of Ireland and further afield.

SALSA is a food-safety standard written by experienced food safety experts to reflect both the legal requirements of producers and the enhanced expectations of ‘best practice’ of professional food buyers.

SALSA certification is only granted to suppliers who are able to demonstrate to an auditor that they are able to produce safe and legal food and are committed to continually meeting the requirements of the SALSA standard.

Managing director Pat McKeever, who started the business with son Peter and other family members in 2013, commenting on the SALSA accreditation, says: “SALSA is a tremendous endorsement of the quality and safety of our business, processes and products.

“Indeed, we’ve scrutinised all aspects of our business and made a number of changes to increase efficiency and productivity. It’s also an important measure of the premium quality of our ciders and juices.

“SALSA accreditation positions us to meet the food safety and transparency requirements of multiple retailers that we’ve been talking to about listing our products,” he adds.

The company, based on family-owned orchards, has won a series of major awards for its products including UK Great Taste Awards and Blas na hEireann Irish National Food Awards.

“In addition, Long Meadow last year gained a major marketing award in a competition for Northern Ireland’s smaller food companies organised by the George Best Belfast City Airport.

Long Meadow has a heritage in apple growing stretching back three generations in county Armagh and has already won business from delis, independent retailers, restaurants and bars in Northern Ireland and in the Republic of Ireland.

The enterprising family grows and harvests apples from upwards of 120 acres, 30 of which are on the home farm.

The decision to diversify from growing apples into the production of cider, juices and cider vinegar followed extensive market research and substantial investment on the development of an innovative range of products and processes.

Native Bramley apples, which have EU PGI status, and other locally grown apples from a network of trusted growers are used.

Long Meadow ciders and juices are processed exclusively using pure pressed apple juice. The company does not use concentrates, chemicals, or added water. Small batches are produced using a unique and slow fermentation process for greater flavour.

The company also runs farm tours to showcase its products and processes through Grand Circle Travel American tours.

Pictured above: Peter and Pat McKeever of Long Meadow Cider in Loughgall, Armagh