Co Armagh @MacIvorsCider and Canned Bramley Apples are winners in @NationalTrust Fine Food Produce Awards

MacIvor cider. Credit Paul Canning

Mac Ivors Cider Company and MacNeice Fruit Ltd are celebrating winning prestigious National Trust Fine Farm Produce Awards. The Canned Bramley Apples received their first ever award while the traditional cider received the accolade for the second year running.

The annual awards [1] celebrate the very best produce from the National Trust’s 1,500 tenant farmers and estates across Northern Ireland, England and Wales.

Products not only have to excel in the obligatory taste test, but entrants also have to pass a checklist of environmental standards to guarantee the quality and origin of ingredients alongside high standards of production. The winners are decided by a judging panel consisting of 10 food and drink experts.

Greg MacNeice and his father. Credit Paul Canning

Greg MacNeice’s family have farmed in Ardress, Co Armagh for over 150 years. He now manages Mac Ivors Cider Co and MacNeice Fruit Ltd, and is earning many fans with the award-winning craft ciders and apple products coming to market.

Talking about the ciders, Greg explains: ‘We use tried and tested production methods to get as close as possible to the taste of a freshly picked apple. No preservatives or additives, just freshly pressed apples and yeast. Then we let nature takes its course.’

Sustainability is at the heart of the Greg’s ethos:

‘Not using insecticides is very beneficial to our native bumblebee population,’ he says. ‘Which in turn is good news for our orchard. We’re just giving nature a helping hand.’

Greg MacNeice and his father in his orchard. Credit Paul Canning

The MacNeice family traditions are in evidence throughout the orchard. From using predominantly traditional farming methods to protecting the orchard’s oldest residents.

‘Among our hundred acres we have a couple of dozen trees that are over 125 years old, so we do everything possible to preserve them,’ he says.

This year 25 producers in total were recognised for 45 outstanding food, drink and countryside products ranging from beef to honey and flour to turkey and mushrooms [2].

Rob Macklin, Head of Food and Farming at the National Trust, and chair of the judges said: ‘The awards are unique because of their focus on three key areas – taste, production methods and environmental standards.

‘As Europe’s largest conservation charity it is really key for us that our producers reflect our whole reason for existing – and customers can rely on the fact that every product having the awards ‘stamp’ not only tastes great, but is produced in a way that cares for the land which not only works alongside nature, but is also farmed sustainably for future generations to enjoy.

‘The feature that best characterises the winning producers is their attention to detail. Factors such as quality of diet, livestock breeding, crop varieties and methods used in growing and manufacture underpin the presentation and performance of the final products

‘Every year the producers raise the bar and many of the products receiving the prestigious marque really are the ‘best of the best.’

For more information about the awards and to find out more about this year’s award winning products and producers,

Picking the apples for the MacIvors cider. Credit Paul Canning

Love Belfast
Belfast guide to restaurants, bars, nightclubs, concerts, events, hotels, entertainment, special offers, news, gossip, travel, festivals and culture.

Related Articles

Forty Belfast venues named amongst NI’s Top 100 hospitality businesses

The search to find the Top 100 hospitality businesses in Northern Ireland came to a dramatic conclusion with forty Belfast venues amongst the winners. The...


Bangor based Mercer Dental Care has been recognised for excellence in dentistry at the prestigious Dentistry UK Awards, with dentist Michael Crilly being named...


The Fitzwilliam Hotel, Belfast has scooped one of the top accolades in the UK hospitality sector, having been named AA Hotel of the Year...

Leave a Reply

Stay Connected

- Advertisement -

Latest Articles

Planning to Move to the UK? – Here’s Everything You Need to Know

If you are ready to move to the United Kingdom and start a new life and a new career, then this blog is a...


Local Belfast charity to play vital role in Covid-19 response support The UK’s largest bereavement charity, Cruse Bereavement Care, has received a much needed financial...

Start-Ups Invited To Enter Competition To Win £75,000 Grant To Develop Innovate Port Technology

Northern Ireland start-ups will have the chance to win a £75,000 proof of concept grant as part of a new competition launched today by...

BBC Academy’s Digital Cities returns online with a focus on virtual skills, talent, and industry insights

BBC Academy’s annual skills-sharing event, Digital Cities, will launch online for the first time later this month, bringing together partners across the creative industries. The...

£20m premium parking facility opens at Belfast’s Grosvenor Road

Value Car Parks launches new 575 space state-of-the-art parking facility in Belfast City Centre as McCausland Group marks 100 years in business A new premium...