Long Meadow Cider Wins Business from Ballymaloe Foods

Long Meadow, Northern Ireland’s award winning cider processor, has won business from Ballymaloe Foods in the Republic for its apple cider vinegar.

Based on a successful apple farm near Portadown in Co Armagh, Long Meadow has supplied its cider vinegar for Ballymaloe Food’s popular balsamic vinaigrette products.

Established in 1990 by Yasmin Hyde, Ballymaloe Foods has developed into Ireland’s most successful and respected artisan producer of sauces, relishes, chutneys and other innovative foods. The business, which is based at Little Island, near Cork, has close links with the internationally renowned Ballymaloe Cookery School.

Catherine McKeever, commercial director of family owned and managed Long Meadow, says: “We were thrilled when Ballymaloe approached us to supply our apple cider vinegar for use in one of its successful products. It’s a marvellous boost to be working with such a prestigious artisan manufacturer in the Republic, a target market in which we’ve been seeking to develop business.

“The contract for cider vinegar is particularly timely as it came following our decision to invest in a new processing plant which has increased production capacity of a product which is being regarded as providing health benefits,” she adds.

Pat and Catherine McKeever founded the cider business in 2013 with son Peter in a farm diversification project to develop a range of cider and juices from apples grown on the family farm at the heart of Northern Ireland’s famed ‘Orchard Country’.

The McKeever family has been growing apples for more than 50 years on the Armagh farm and had been encouraged to branch out by the feedback from cider enthusiasts across Northern Ireland and from a host of awards including UK Great Taste and Blas na hEireann – Irish National Food Awards. The company also won the Innovation Award for the apple cider vinegar at the Armagh Banbridge and Craigavon Councils business awards.

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 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.

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 popular apple cider vinegar is also natural, it is unfiltered, unpasteurised, free from sugars and additives and contains “The Mother”.