The Blas na hEireann Irish Food Awards winners, Green Pastures, team from left, Ozgun Odimir, Srikanta Daw, John D. Molloy, and Chanjit Daz
Green Pastures in Convoy, has been crowned Supreme Champion 2019 at the recent prestigious Blas na hEireann Irish Food Awards, which were celebrated in Dingle, Co Kerry.
The third generation family creamery took the coveted overall title for its irresistible, expertly crafted Soft Cheese – cream of the crop in a crowded field of some 2,500 entrants and 350 finalists vying for recognition in Ireland’s food Oscars.
Green Pastures Donegal is a family owned dairy business based on the edge of the picturesque town of Convoy since 1988. The company was founded in Sligo in 1983 by the veterinary surgeon, John Molloy, MVB, MRCVS, before relocating to its new site – chosen since the surrounding area is famed as one of the best traditional meadowland dairy farming areas in Ireland. The business has been run by his son, John D. Molloy, for the past 11 years.
Awards at Blas are made based on blind tasting, using a judging system developed by University College Cork and University of Copenhagen that is recognised as an industry gold standard worldwide – so to emerge as ultimate winner out of such a rigorously impartial process is true testament to Green Pastures’ mastery.
No strangers to Blas, Green Pastures and its sister firm, Natural Dairies, have amassed quite a collection of silvers and golds throughout the 12 year history of the Awards – but this is the first time taking the grand prize, and it’s the first time the honour has gone to a producer in the north-west.
Green Pastures was also proud this year to take home the Shane McArdle Best in Ulster Award; alongside three Golds for Green Pastures Donegal Soft Cheese, Dunnes Stores Rich and Luxurious Double Cream, and Dunnes Stores Sour Cream; a Silver for Green Pastures Creme Fraiche and a Bronze for Dunnes Stores Delicate and Smooth Creme Fraiche.
John Molloy of Green Pastures said of their success: “We are overwhelmed to receive this accolade – to score so highly among the Blas judges is an incredible feeling, especially when we think of the range and standard of exceptional produce that surrounds us on this island.
John Molloy of Green Pastures
“We’re particularly pleased and proud in light of the focused investment we have recently made in new state-of-the-art technology and in our unique innovation processing techniques. An achievement like this doesn't happen by accident and we’re delighted to see that our cutting edge techniques, paired with long honed craftsmanship and the natural advantages of one of Ireland’s finest traditional dairy farming regions have proven to be a recipe for success!”
He continued: “Of course, huge thanks and recognition must go to our conscientious family farm suppliers, who provide the highest quality milk on the island; and to our accomplished cheesemakers here in Convoy who have brought science and skill to bear in developing and perfecting the complex flavours that make our products so distinctive.
“Following on from this success, we are keen to ensure that as many cheese-lovers and dairy connoisseurs as possible have the chance to savour our Supreme Champion Soft Cheese – and indeed the full range of products that have been such a hit with the judges in Dingle; from our Goats Milk to our liquid Milk and Cream, Sour Cream and Crème Fraiche products. We’re looking forward to welcoming new customer enquiries in the coming months with the Blas prize as a great new feather in our cap – perhaps the win will open some surprising fridge doors for us!”