A range of Cottage Market producers and their products will be showcased at Boom in the Park 2019 this June bank holiday weekend including Kildare’s Bernard Gibney of Gibney’s Garden Jams.
Products include beeswax wraps, copper work, stationary, jams, marmalades, jewellery, plant markers, linens, soaps, honey and of course handmade wicker baskets.
A number of the Cottage Marketeers will also contribute to the GIY Food Matters programme at Bloom 219 discussing “Local Food Global Impact” and running practical workshops to inspire festival-goers to embrace The Cottage Market’s core ethos of ‘homemade, homegrown, handcrafted”.
Bernard Gibney, from Kildare town, is hand producing a large range of jams, marmalades, chutneys, ketchup, marinades, mustards, pickles, dressings, vinaigrettes, oils, syrups, in fact, he has over 40 products on the market. Not only is his business a success with his customers, but his products have also won him 7 Blas na hEireann awards, 3 London Great Taste awards and 1 Irish National Food award.
He didn't arrive at making money for jam overnight, Bernard worked in landscaping for 13 years and managed a Ted Baker store for seven years when he decided to leave and turn a hobby into his business. His motivation for success was his natural passion for preserving and the fact that when he left his steady management job he had €240 in the bank and mortgage payment to meet at the end of the month..
Bernard says, “I became obsessed with the art of preserving so I bought a collection of cookbooks from the late 1800’s early 1900’s and started to research, experiment, and create the basis of what became my first 10 products, during this time I honed my cooking skills but also my selling skills and business acumen and my time in the retail industry gave me the confidence to back myself and my business idea.”
The first few years were tough going as the market scene was only starting to take off and people were still in the mindset of buying their food from supermarkets and supermarkets only.
For Bernard, The Cottage Market came along at the perfect time and helped to tip the balance. Favouring the smaller local producer, a network of community-led but enterprise minded Cottage Markets set up nationwide with centralised support offered to operators and producers alike.
“It helped customers to access locally made goods straight from the producer and it helps me to create a loyal customers base of people who were looking for better quality handmade goods and to shop more ethically. It also helped to create a community not just amongst the producers but also the customers.
The cottage market has helped me to showcase my product not just to my customers but also to other business in the local area, which has helped me to expand my business by more than 50%.
Trading at The Cottage Market Newbridge has also helped me to branch off in directions that I hadn’t thought about in the beginning, going back to my roots I now offer foraging classes through the market and cooking demos.
Over the next year, I hope to expand the business and trade at a few more Cottage Markets in the region, all of which will help me to promote my business and myself and get the all-important brand recognition.”
Bloom 2019 takes place at the Phoenix Park from May 31 to June 3.