Farm Ireland

Tuesday 23 April 2019

FarmIreland Instagram Takeover: See behind the scenes at Ballymaloe Foods and find out how they produce their beetroot

Joe Hartnett with his Beetroot
Joe Hartnett with his Beetroot
Catherine Hurley

Catherine Hurley

Ballymaloe Foods will be taking over the FarmIreland Instagram today and will be showing our viewers how they produce one of their newest editions, Ballymaloe Irish Beetroot.

Grown locally in east Cork, in Joe Hartnett’s farm, some 14ac is now devoted to the Ballymaloe beetroot business.

According to Joe, this year’s crop was sown at the end of April and has been harvested bi-weekly since the start of July. The beetroot is handpicked, cleaned, cooked, processed and jarred all in the one day, from Joe’s farm in Saleen to Ballymaloe Foods in Little Island, which is less than a 10-minute drive.

“There’s very little to managing the beetroot. We harvest 3t at a time, so it wouldn’t justify a harvester. This year, despite the weather it has been a superb year as regards yield,” explained Joe, who also grows leeks and early potatoes.

Beetroot crop
Beetroot crop

Click here to visit the FarmIreland instagram page

How it all started

The Ballymaloe Foods story started off in a little kitchen in east Cork, where it grew from just involving the founder, Yasmin Hyde, to a family orientated business heading towards a €6m turn over on an annual basis.

In May 1990, Yasmine Hyde - daughter of Myrtle and Ivan Allen, began making Ballymaloe Country Relish on a commercial scale and selling to local shops and eateries.

The determined entrepreneur, started cooking the relish in a portacabin outside her home in Glanmire, and slowly but surely got the product up and going by approaching different multi-chain supermarkets and national distributors.

Also Read

“The challenge was how could keep the original flavour while producing on a larger scale. At the beginning we looked at outsourcing production but, in the end, we decided to make it ourselves,” explained Yasmine.

Today, Ballymaloe Foods is based in Little Island in east Cork, and are currently looking for larger premises to keep the growing business under one roof.

Family Business: Rose, Yasmin and Maxine Hyde
Family Business: Rose, Yasmin and Maxine Hyde

Always being known as a family-run business, two of her daughters, Maxine, the Sales and Marketing Manager and Rose who is Operational Manager are stepping up as Yasmin plans her retirement.

Maxine was always interested in the business and took on a full-time role after completing her studies in commerce in UCC in 2008 and more recently her younger sister, Rose, joined the business.

The Road to Success

Now having a strong footing in Holland and Germany, and America to name a few, Ballymaloe Relish is even sold in a Costa café in Dubai, but sales were not always as easy to come by for the Hydes.

“There’s a very thin line between failure and success, and there were times that I could have turned around and given it up. Sales were not great to start off with, but I kept with it and by meeting people at different shows and events, we could introduce our products in this way and luckily it has all worked out for us,” explained Yasmine.

Ballymaloe Foods team
Ballymaloe Foods team

“If you know you have a good product, just keep with it. It’s very had when you have a product that is so different and to try and get people to change,” she said.

Now after having established the beetroot side of the business, the family-run business is now looking to develop more products to their arsenal, including Ballymaloe Mayonnaise that is currently available in local shops in Cork.

Online Editors

More in Rural Life