Ballyhogan Country Kitchen was set up in 2010. When John was made redundant, he started producing a few home baked scones for some of the local shops. They liked them, so we tried some soda breads, and when we started making apple tarts - well, people would ring us up and tell us they hadn't tasted a tart like ours since they were small in their mothers kitchen!
Apple tarts are still our most popular product. We make our pastry using real butter, and the best natural apples we can find. The result is a truly delicious tart - just like your mother used to make. We aren't trained chefs, so we make the products we sell exactly the same as if we were making them for ourselves. We think this is why people love them so much - they just taste so good.
Ballyhogan Country Kitchen has grown organically over the last 6 years. We didn't start off with a plan, things just kind of gre gradually, as we supplied a few more shops or tried another new product.
In April 2015, we joined the Food Acadmy programme. This programme has really given us a chance to grow our business into something that could provide a real future for us. The individual SuperValu stores are very welcoming and only too happy to give our products a try, and the support we receive from Musgraves is invaluable. As we team up with other small, local food producers, we can really feel part of something that's relevant, exciting and growing.
We now employ 5 people, including ourselves, and of course our children help out too whenever they're around. It's a real family concern.