24 September 2020 - Page 13

NOVEMBER 09 2017
Leading agricultural journalist and broadcaster IAN HARVEY looks behind
the scenes at rural community issues and how farmers are meeting the
challenge of developing the farm business and supporting the farm family
LOOKING GOOD: Left, a big hit with customers of Fluffy
Meringue are these classy, eye-catching, raspberry and chocolate
finished meringues! FW-1F.
BAKERY: The busy and popular Fluffy Meringue bakery, which
was purpose-built on the Finnegan’s family farm at Tullybroom,
near Clogher, was opened in the latter half of 2006. FW-1C.
TOPS: Left, street popularity of the Fluffy Meringue stall at
Dingle Food Festival, County Kerry, in late September this year,
coincided with judging at the famous Blas n hEireann Food
Awards. FW-1N.
HEAVENLY: The expression on this girl’s face
as she bites into one of the Catherine’s Fluffy
Meringue creations says it all. FW-1A.
Christmas trees on family farm
VARIETY: Finnegan’s Christmas Trees
have both wholesale and retail outlets
throughout nine counties across Northern
Ireland and the Republic. FW-1U.
Meringue stand at ‘Love Your Home’
exhibition at Titanic Quarter in October,
organised by Jenna Stevenson’s Bite To
Savour movement to promote NI artisan
food producers. FW-1J.
what, when and at what point to
add to it during the baking process,
that’s where quality and creativeness
comes into play.
“Consistent quality is important but
that comes with experience.
“Everything we bake is handcrafted; people want choice these
days, something extra special.
“We create quality, flavours, taste,
colours and everything that makes
what we do different and so appealing
that our customers can’t resist our
fluffy meringues and want to come
back for more.
“Of course we offer variety, from
light and fluffy raspberry and
chocolate finished meringue nests,
to chocolate orange meringues
which incorporate an orange chutney
finished with my own chocolate
sauce and topped with a premium
chocolate segment.
“Over the past 12 months I’ve
opened the doors to even wider
flavoursome thinking.
“This creativeness continues with
our pavlovas and every facet of what
we do is aimed at that top end market,
including my lemon drizzle cake
which has become a firm favourite.
“We specialise in private parties
with our attractively presented
baked products, but we also attend
farmers markets like Coleraine,
quintessentially a ‘meet the producers’
Saturday of the month and Monaghan
Farmers Market held every Friday
from 9am to 2pm, which is also a
fantastic outlet.
“Patrick takes time off the farm and
Christmas trees to help out, as do our
children if they’re at home.
“I use distributor Peter Jamieson,
of Fine Foods, Lisburn, to supply
our shops and hotel outlets,
but I also deliver to top
shops like Creightons
of Balmoral in Belfast
and Newell Stores,
“In more recent years
we have ear-marked
attendance at food
fairs or specialist food
“What I’m doing with
Fluffy Meringue falls firmly
into the artisan food category.
“That’s why we now have a strong
presence at the Donegal Food Festival
and also this year at the Dingle Food
Festival, which takes place during
the judging of Blas na hEireann Food
Awards in Dingle.
“We plan to enter for the next Blas
na hEireann awards when they come
round again – it’s been so busy up
to now I’ve hardly had time to think
of entering our meringues for food
awards, but all that’s going to change.
“Certainly judging by the public
popularity of our meringues at the
recent Dingle Food Festival, it would
make sense to enter.
“One of the big successes we’ve had
for the second year running was the
Love Your Home exhibition in Titanic
Quarter, thanks to the Bite to Savour
movement which promotes NI
food artisan producers.”
In the course of conversation I discovered
that Catherine had run
in the 2014 New York
Marathon and hopes
to train for another
one, when time allows! The sole purpose
was to raise money
for Cancer Fund for
Children and she is
currently raising more
money for that charity
by holding a special afternoon tea
event to be held at Blessingbourne
Estate in February 2018. More details
will be available from Catherine.
As we talked, Patrick arrived back
and he took me on a tour of his
Christmas trees.
Since the trees now cover a large
acreage, it wasn’t possible to see
them all, but Patrick explained that
he had increased his production
no secret
in making a
meringue, but
there is an art
in getting it
BAGGED: Catherine Daly Finnegan’s
special ‘handbag cakes’ boxed, stacked
and ready to deliver from the Fluffy
Meringue on-farm bakery, at Tullybroom,
near Clogher. FW-1R.
from just two acres of Log Pole Pines
and Nordmann Fir to 30 acres of
Nordmann, Log pole Pine, Fraser Fir
and Noble Fir.
“Nordmann Fir is far and away the
most popular Christmas tree we
grow,” he explained.
“I have expanded from the early
days with between 6,000-7,000 trees
planted annually.
“We are now one of the largest
growers in the most northerly nine
counties of this island and supply
garden centres, retail outlets and
wholesalers generally collect from
the farm’s tree nursery.
“Trees are sheared, pruned and
bud-rubbed to thicken growth and of
course weeds are sprayed in between
the rows.
“Like Catherine with her bakery,
this time of year is becoming really
busy leading up to the seasonal rush,
so I have to be well organised.”
The farm also supports a beef
fattening herd and sheep fattening
flock on the remaining 40 acres, but
the main enterprises, without any
shadow of doubt, are Fluffy Meringue
and Finnegan Christmas Trees NI. A
truly exceptional on-farm mix, run by
a truly exceptional family!
For more information
Telephone: Catherine: 02885549439 mob: 07879232674
Finnegan Christmas Trees mob: 07768486211
Fluffy Meringue is on facebook and twitter


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