The SOLAS farmers’ market in Portarlington continues this weekend with its’ extended opening hours from 10am–3pm.
David Maher of SOLAS explains: “We had 27 different stalls last week and one of the largest crowds with around 1,200 people attending the market despite a rather damp start to the day.
“We are now attracting stall holders from as far away as Belfast and had some customers in attendance last week who had travelled from Mayo”.
SOLAS is very much in Halloween mode with a wonderous array of witches, coffins, headstones, bats, a Halloween Cauldron and huge array of pumpkins.
This is all in preparation for further events such as our drive in Halloween movies, bat talks and seasonal cookery courses which are happening over the following week or so. Note a number of the events are already sold – for full details see https://www.ecogardenshop.ie/events
Maher continued: “We are embarking on an additional capital spend over the next 4 weeks of €150k as we upgrade our facilities to prepare for the winter season. Investment includes installing
- a retractable transparent roof to cover most of our ‘Chill Out courtyard’
- an outdoor gas heating system for our food area
- An upgrade of our kitchen facilities
- The opening up of our 60-seat indoor dining area.”
John Carey co-owner of SOLAS explains: “We have put a huge amount of effort into the design of changes to create a comfortable, warm and all seasons/all-weather offering but hopefully without losing the magical feel of our unique development.”
Also, SOLAS have expanded the team with a very experienced food manager and chef having started this week.
David Maher explains: “It is an incredibly competitive market in which to recruit talented and experienced food staff.
“But once Jamie (our manager) and Chris (our chef) came to see what we had built, they immediately saw the potential and bought into Eco quality food philosophy.”
Already there has seen a huge improvement in the range, quality and freshness of the food being offered at SOLAS with fresh bread now being baked daily on site, and plans to add a series of additional hot food options to the menu over the coming weeks.
For example, the weekend will see an offering of Hot chilli beef tacos, quiches etc. Once the full production is up and running by the end of October, SOLAS will move to a new level including the addition of an ‘Avoca’ style food shop which will carry a super range of fresh quality ready to bring home products from our market stall holders and production kitchen.
This weekend sees another 100% capacity farmers market with 27 different stalls covering everything from fresh meats and fish, Organic vegetables, over 60 types of teas, Cakes, a live swarm of bees (in a glass hive!) along with honey and wax products.
In total there are now over 90 separate stall holders who have registered to join the SOLAS Farmers and Christmas markets. Nothing succeeds like success.
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