Every Friday morning, Peppers Lane, just off Lyster Square in the heart of Portlaoise, is a hive of activity.
The buzz is palpable as the various traders in the Laois Farmers Market set up for a morning of meeting their customers, selling their produce and making new connections.
There’s a community spirit among the traders, selling fruit, vegetables, fish, bread, cakes chocolate and cheese.
The positive vibe comes from a group of people who invariably love what they do – and the quality of what they’re selling is a real reflection of that.
Some are veterans of the Farmers Market circuit; others are relative newcomers – but the Laois Farmers Market, with the support of Laois Taste and the Business Support Unit of Laois County Council continues to go from strength to strength as they’ve made this part of Portlaoise their home every Friday morning.
Among those we chat to on this particular day are the hugely talented twin sisters Ruth and Kate O’Hara from Durrow, who run Temptation Patisserie. The girls have an accounting and finance background but turned their hobby into a business since the onset of the pandemic and operate out of the commercial kitchens in the Mountmellick Development Association.
We also come across Jason Barron from Wexford and the Bates of Kilmore Quay who has been travelling to Farmers Markets in this part of the country for more than a decade now.
As well as supplying a wide variety of fish and shellfish from fresh herrings, tuna, turbot,
black sole, Jason is also quick to advise on the best way to cook it! All in his own good-humoured style.
Also manning his stand is John Egan from Ratheniska Farm Fresh, whose produce from his organic farm out the road in Ratheniska is really eye-catching.
Up the way is Ollie Clooney, the Durrow-based county councillor, whose quality vegetables are matched by his ability to have a word for everyone.
Likewise, Mary Lowry’s Home Baking offers up many real treats. And that’s a feature at every turn – Tatiana Bite’s Meringues and Mallows, Lynn’s Pantry run by Peter McHugh, Philip Little and The Little Irish Apple Company and Elizabeth Bradley’s Carlow Cheese.
There’s also a regular presence from the Laois Taste food producers group.
Among the new producers on this particular day are Crean’s Bakery from Athgarvan near Newbridge. It’s their first time to be at this market in Portlaoise and they add another dimension too.
Also in regular attendance is local poet Arthur Broomfield, adding another authentic feel to what is really good set up overall.
It really is worth checking out.
- Crean’s Place Bakery – David Hogan
- Mary Lowry Home Baking – Mary Lowry
- Poetry – Arthur Broomfield
- Carlow Cheese – Elizabeth Bradley
- Laois Taste
- Meringue/Mallows – Tatiana Bite
- Temptation Patisserie – Ruth O’Hara
- Visual Instinct – Honor Hales
- Bates Fish – Jason Barron
- The Little Irish Apple Company – Philip Little
- Ratheniska Farm Fresh – John Egan