Agri-food businesses join forces to deliver 100 Christmas dinners to Co. Down town

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Written by Rachel Martin

It was a true field-to-fork effort as businesses from right across the agri-food chain joined forces to provide Christmas dinner for more than 100 local people in one small town on the shores of Strangford Lough.

The effort was lead by Comber Chamber of Commerce with help from Comber Rotary Club and local restauranteur Jim Mulholland.

Mulholland, an acclaimed local chef, worked to transform produce offered by local farmers and food companies into three-course meal packs.

The meals, which included vegetable soup, turkey dinner and a trifle, were then delivered by members of Comber Rotary Club to 100 local, elderly or vulnerable people on Christmas Eve.

Recipients were nominated by local churches and community leaders.

Alderman Deborah Girvan, chairperson of Comber Chamber of Commerce, said: “This is a truly wonderful community initiative to support and help our local elderly or vulnerable people who are in need this Christmas.

It is important that we look out for and care for our neighbours, especially as the Covid pandemic has made this year so difficult and tough.
“By providing Christmas dinners to those in need, we want to ensure that everyone feels a little bit of love, happiness and hope this Christmas.

“On behalf of the Chamber, I would particularly like to thank Jim Mullholland and his staff for giving up their time and expertise to cook so many Christmas dinners.”

Comber Chamber member Hilary West from Rapid Read tuition business who co-ordinated the project said: “We have been overwhelmed by the generosity from local farmers, food producers and businesses in Comber.

“This has been a brilliant team effort and I would like to thank everyone who has been involved for his or her support and help.”

Businesses which donated produce included:

  • Jim Mulholland, chef/owner of No 14 The Georgian restaurant and his staff;
  • Farmer Hugh Chambers – Comber potatoes;
  • Farmer Mark McKee from Fresh Fields – carrots and parsnips;
  • Herron Farms – sprouts;
  • Samuel Bowman – soup vegetables;
  • Henderson’s – turkeys;
  • Hardy’s Hardware store for napkins;
  • Mockford Milk – cream for Jim’s trifle;
  • Connoisseurs Bakery – bread rolls;
  • Maud’s – after-dinner mints;
  • Tesco’s – mince pies.

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Rejuvenating swards: Which option is best?

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Written by Brian McDonnell

Maintaining grass quality during mid-season grazing is important. Farmers can maintain quality by entering ideal grazing covers of 1,300 – 1,500kg DM/ha, and grazing down to a residual of 4cm every rotation.

If you are now in a situation where cows are not cleaning out paddocks as well as they should be, leading to the development of steamy grass within the sward, here are some options.

Common options for rejuvenating swards include:

  1. Take a silage cut, probably into bales, remove the material and start again with the aftermath...