As the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society (RUAS) prepares to reopen the gates at Balmoral Park for the 152nd Balmoral Show, Platinum Sponsor Marks & Spencer is set to showcase its commitment to local agriculture and farming sustainability.
Peter Kennedy, M&S Agriculture Manager says: “M&S has always led the field in its support for local agriculture and farming sustainability and the Balmoral Show is the perfect platform for us to stamp our authority as a leading retailer, to maintain and build on close relationships with our farmers and producers and to communicate our partnership approach to sustainable agriculture.”
Northern Ireland is a major supply region for the M&S food business with beef, pork, venison, turkey, potatoes, bread and eggs produced not only for Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland stores, but also for many stores across the UK.
Peter continues: “Missed by sponsors, exhibitors and visitors alike, we’re delighted to be back at Balmoral Show, the most important event in the rural calendar. The show provides us with a fantastic opportunity to say a huge thank you to our customers, colleagues, farmers and producers here and to celebrate the marvellous relationships we have with them.
“Over the four days of the show, M&S will showcase the suppliers who bring the very best of regional food to our stores here. We firmly believe that great food comes from great ingredients, produced by the best farmers and growers and this year our regional focus at Balmoral will include recognition of our local producers. They include Graeme Boden who supplies M&S with free range eggs through Skea Egg Farms from his farm in Co. Tyrone, Iain Wilson who supplies lamb through Linden Foods from his farm in Co. Antrim and David Morrow and Stephen Christie from Co. Down who supply potatoes through Glens of Antrim Potatoes.
“Our show stand will bring the very best of M&S to life for our customers, farmers and growers and demonstrate our commitment to farming initiatives through a selection of exterior interactive consumer experiences.
“Customers will also be able to meet four Wagyu calves provided by Keith Williamson of Linden Foods, our meat processing partner in Northern Ireland. As the only major retailer who can trace all our beef back to every farm and animal, we will explain our DNA testing process. We trace every animal, we know what it has been fed and where it came from – we trace it, so you can trust it.”
Visitors will also be able to see live chef demonstrations at the outdoor kitchen, where Chris Baber, M&S celebrity chef and demo chef Adam Palmer will cook regional and seasonal dishes showcasing the very best of M&S products. There will also be an opportunity to sample a selection of the retailer’s delicious products, witness their passion for quality and innovation and discover the extraordinary lengths M&S go to, to bring their customers such fantastic food.
Peter continues: “In this our eighteenth year as Platinum Sponsor, M&S will continue to sponsor a selection of the beef livestock classes. These will take place at the cattle lawns on 22nd September and include the Aberdeen Angus, Beef Interbreed Championships, as well as Beef Young Handler classes.
“The Media Centre is a new sponsorship for us this year and will see M&S providing lunch for all journalists attending the show.
“Visitors will also have the opportunity to visit the retail shop selling lunchtime snacks from the M&S ‘Food to Go’ range and our ‘Coffee To Go’ area.”