The Cottage Market Cavan
We are a community-led, social enterprise based in Cavan which provides a supportive route to market for small-scale growers, food producers, crafters, artists and community groups. . Our online farmers’ market and seasonal events provide the perfect opportunity to represent what’s local to Cavan and surrounding areas. We are committed to creating local futures and building a sustainable, planet-friendly community. Our goal is to create a permanent marketplace where locals and visitors can access local foods, arts and crafts and embrace the culture of Cavan. We aim to become one of the top visitor attractions in County Cavan.
The Cottage Market Cavan Team
Founder & Operations Manager
The Cavan Community - more than just customers
The Cottage Market is by and for the local community in Cavan – while also being absolutely welcoming to visitors. We see the local community as more than just customers, but also stakeholders in our social enterprise. We see part of our role as raising awareness and educating the local community about what is produced in Cavan and why it is of value, as well as building a stronger sense of togetherness and creating spaces and moments that everyone in the community can enjoy.
Currently the Cottage Market works with a community of 22 local food producers and 45-50 market traders. The Local Green Box source directly from 8 growers and food producers, and their produce is also used exclusively to produce the menus in our Cottage Market mobile food trailer.
On an on-going basis we provide training and up-skilling opportunities to develop the community of producers and encourage new entrants. We support new and expanding businesses in developing and testing new products. The producers who are part of our community also form an informal peer network who can support and learn from each other.
We run a Spring , Summer, Autumn and Winter Market. Each market is meticulously planned and is totally representative of the skills and talents in our community. We work with our food producers, crafters, artists, community groups and public services such as our ETB, Cavan County Council, Cavan Arts, to showcase what’s great about Cavan and offer the opportunity for the people of Cavan and visitors to socialize and experience the Cavan culture.
Online, zero waste market: This online, farmers style market operates weekly and offers a selection of food from 25+ small-scale food producers living in Cavan and our border counties. Products are updated weekly and customers have three days (Sun – Wed noon) to place their order. Producers can view their orders online and all orders are dropped into our packing room on Friday mornings. As we only operate a pre-order food system, our producers appreciate the zero waste aspect of our market. Food is freshly prepared and harvested on the morning of collection. We operate two collection points – Cavan Town and Ballyconnell. We strive to reduce our carbon footprint by working with producers from Cavan and our border counties. We work collectively to reduce and eliminate packaging whilst our online ordering system eliminates food loss and food waste.
Our kitchen only uses produce available from The Local Green Box Cavan. This means all our menus are created from what’s available in the Green box on that week. This means food is local, highly nutritious, fresh and seasonal. We operate from different locations across Cavan and use our online channels, in particular social media, to share our locations.
DineYard is a new initiative by The Cottage Market Cavan to bring a unique dining experience to rural locations across Cavan. Each DineYard will feature the Cottage Market Mobile Food Trailer. Our DineYards also host other Cavan food vendors with delicious tasting, local food and drink offerings with special “add-on” performances and demonstrations on the day.
We offer a range of workshops, activities and supports to our producers and members of our community:
- A training and advisory support package for new and existing food producers
- Test & Learn Kitchen to support startup producers that wish to test phase their product while adhering to guidelines set out HACCP
- A grower’s group that supports small farms growing and producing food organically and regeneratively for The Local Green Box Cavan.
- Educational workshops delivered by skilled, local people e.g.,
- Grow your own, foodscape designs, food web etc
- Introduction to Fermentation & Pickling – A Gut Health
- Reuse & recycle,
- Wood carving,
- Forest fitness, etc.
- Foodscape Design
- Foraging Walks & Talks on edible and medicinal plants native to West Cavan.
- Food Swap – Allows diversification of your homemade foods while getting to know like-minded people. A sustainable practice, allowing seasonal, local food to be shared and prevent food waste amongst like-minded people within our community.
The History of The Cottage Market Cavan
The Cottage Market Cavan came about from a difficulty in accessing organic, locally grown vegetables in Co. Cavan. Imelda moved from Co. Meath in 2013 where her local farmers market provided all the staples of her weekly food shop.
When she got to Cavan the same accessible and variety was not available and she resorted to travelling to Leitrim on a weekly basis. She also started a local Grow it Yourself Group in Ballyconnell with the help of some locals. This was the catalyst for her community activation programme.
Her background is in training and she worked with the Louth Meath Education Training Board designing and delivering level 3 and 4 programmes to community-based groups and adult learners. Further studies involved artisan food skills and growing your own.
In order to integrate into the community and follow her passion, she joined a community service programme, voluntarily to assist in their Health & Wellbeing programme.
In 2017. She started her social enterprise journey to help fix the problems she encountered when she moved to Cavan.