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Gilford farmer Harry McGaffin and his Blackberry Hill Farm Shop are finalists in the inaugural NI Agricultural Awards 2016

5th September 2016

Gilford-based farmer, Harry McGaffin and his newly opened Blackberry Hill Farm Shop have been shortlisted as finalists in the NI Agricultural Awards 2016.

Harry in his role as Secretary of the European Angus Cattle Society, has been nominated for a Special Recognition Award and his newly opened Farm Shop, Blackberry Hill Farm Shop, features in the Best New Service/Product of the Year Category, in this, the inaugural year of the competition.

The Northern Ireland Agricultural Awards aim to celebrate the many dedicated companies and hard-working people within the agricultural sector who strive to make a difference and inspire others.

Harry McGaffin is a founder member of the European Angus Cattle Society, which was formed back in 2003 and which is very much a home grown phenomenon. European Angus is a recognised breed of cattle in its own right, a cross between Aberdeen Angus cattle and Limousin.

Over the years Harry has worked tirelessly to promote both European Angus, the Society and its members.

As well as promoting European Angus Harry has been a great ambassador for agriculture in general.
He was the man behind the launch of the very successful ‘European Angus Steak Tasting Competition’ which ran for five years and is a great supporter of the Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend, having participated on two occasions, including this year’s event.

With Harry innovation is never too far away and his latest venture is the opening of a Farm Shop at Blackberry Hill Farm.

As well as selling European Angus beef from the Shop he is also offering Wagyu cross beef produced on his own farm.

At present the Farm Shop opens at weekends, Friday and Saturday, but there are plans to extend the opening hours as the business grows.

Considerable emphasis is placed on a grass-fed approach to the rearing of animals and all Blackberry Hill Farm beef is traditionally matured on the bone for 21 days to ensure tenderness, succulence and a truly remarkable eating experience.

In working with animals Harry McGaffin operates a strict welfare policy and the emphasis is very much on ensuring that stress free conditions are part of normal every day practice.

Behind the Northern Ireland Agricultural Awards are Donna Hosking and Claire Dickson of Strategic Business Planning and Events and the winners will be announced at a special awards ceremony which is being staged at the Stormont Hotel in Belfast on Thursday the 22nd September.

The main sponsor is County Down-based Henderson Food Machinery Company, which specialises in the sale of food processing and packaging machinery.

“I am absolutely delighted to be featuring in two of the Awards categories in this, the very first year of the competition,” said Harry. “I know there are other hard-working farm families and businesses featuring in these awards and it is an honour to be recognised in this way alongside them.”

Launching the new Blackberry Hill Farm Shop in Gilford during the Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend are Harry McGaffin and Sam Hughes from Blackberry Hill Farm. Lending their support are Collette Kelly and Colette Mulholland from Bank of Ireland, Lurgan.

Harry McGaffin, Secretary of the European Angus Cattle Society at home on Blackberry Hill Farm, Gilford.

Quality beef from Blackberry Hill Farm.

The newly opened Farm Shop at Blackberry Hill Farm.

European Angus cattle grazing at Harry McGaffin's Blackberry Hill Farm.

European Angus steak.

Harry McGaffin and celebrity judge, Paula McIntyre pictured with winners in the European Angus Steak Tasting Competition, an industry-wide competition that was launched by Harry.

European Angus members on a study tour to John McEnroe's Aberdeen Angus Liss herd in Oldcastle, County Meath.

Julie-Ann Moorhead, DAERA, who is a member of the Steering Group team of the Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend and her daughter Emily pictured at Blackberry Hill Farm on launch day.

Free range eggs from Blackberry Hill Farm.

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