Out on Highbank Organic Farm, Rod and Julie Calder-Potts and the team are busy making final preparations for the Harvest Picnic which takes place on this Sunday 29th September and the line-up looks really exciting.
The Harvest Picnic and artisan food & craft market is the final big day out of the Kilkenny Trails Festival, bringing the Festival to a close with a massive gathering, a celebration of all the trails and a day of great fun, food, craft and activities for all the family on the farm from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Sunday 29th September.
The idea is that you bring along your own picnic or pick up treats from the artisan food and craft market with more than 30 stalls, there’ll be all kinds of goodies to tempt you. Pick your own picnic spot or join one of the 40 foot or 20 foot long picnic tables in the courtyard. And just in case of rain, the picnic tables can be covered and the market stalls are in the stables under the arches of the yard!!
Pre-order a picnic from
Glasraí & Goodies
056 77 33 799
There’s been interest from all over the country in the first ever National Onion Hanking Championships which takes place at the Harvest Picnic and you’ll be able to buy your onions, all locally grown by organic Riversfield, hank them for your winter store and enter into the championships.
Lots of readers may remember the years when Highbank had Christmas Trees and brought you on a magical train ride into the woods to pick your tree? Well, the train; Kilkenny’s first and the only train driven by a Ferrari tractor is back in action for Harvest Picnic and will bring you on a ride through the orchards and around the farm Cost for the farm train will be €10 per family. Rod will lead a special Heritage Train Tour during the day, giving an insight into the colourful history of Highbank, with tales of an Irish Princess and dueling gentlemen.
Children should really have a whale of a time learning to make their own floating candle or having a go at throwing a pot on a pottery wheel. There’s face painting too of course and Mini Beast Hunts on the farm; which are bound to delight and fascinate. Harvest Games sound like fun too – try a hand at ‘ring the pumpkin, squash skittles, bob the apple and find the ‘needle’ in the haystack! Budding bakers might like to enter Anne Neary, Breda McDonald and Edward Hayden’s Children’s Cookie Baking competition – they should bake their favourite cookies at home and bring them along on the day for Anne, Breda and Edward to taste during the free entry ‘Bread Butter & Jam’ demo in The Cooking Pit at 2-4p.m.
Blaze a Trail
There’s lots of activity on the farm too, starting with a free guided family cycle from Kilkenny City out to Highbank Orchards. Leaving from the Aspect Hotel (on the ring road near Woodies) at 12 noon, you’ll be guided and marshaled out the Callan Road for a leisurely, half hour (or so) cycle out to the Farm. The cycle is suitable for families and your bikes will be stored at Highbank for the day so that you can enjoy the rest of the activities there and cycle back at your leisure. If you’d like to hire a bike to join in, Kilkenny Cycle Tours are doing a special Harvest Picnic rate of €10 – call Jason 086 895 4961.
Out on the farm; you can hire a bike and take to the farm cycle track; or take the family on an orienteering challenge – head off with a map to explore the farm – through woodland, the oat field (now harvested and gone to Flahavans) and over double to ditches to pick up the clues from markers located around the farm – just bring your wellies.
Food and Craft Haven at Highbank
The Artisan Food and Craft Market at Highbank Orchards’ Harvest Picnic will be a great attraction with a wonderfully diverse range of stalls. Foodies will appreciate the great range of local produce with everything from Gerry O’Briens spiced beef, wild venison, Thomastown trout and caviar, award winning local cheeses from Stoneyford and Olivia Goodwillie’s famous Lavistown sausages. For the sweeter tooth there’s the temptation of Mary’s Slice of Heaven cakes, Highbank’s own hot mulled apple, cider and syrup and the perfect picnic ingredients from Glasraí & Goodies’ stall.
The creativity of our local craft makers will be on show at the Craft Market where twenty local craftmakers will be coming together. The range of craft disciplines from basketry to felting, candles to ceramics and millinery to woodturning is surely testimony to Kilkenny’s strong and thriving craft tradition. Some of the makers will be demonstrating their craft; Heike will be weaving in willow, Claire will showing how she creates her horsehair ceramics and others like Mud workshops and Melting Pot Candles will be offering workshops.
Don’t miss this week’s free events
Bat Walk along the River Nore
Wednesday 25th September at 7.30pm at old Swimming Pool, John’s Quay
Meet the Maker Craft Trail Tour of Thomastown
Saturday 28th September 2.30pm at Karen Morgan’s Studio
To book: Gus 056 772 4777
Mount Alto and Rory’s Hill with Tyndall Walking Club
Sunday 29th at 9.30am at Kilkenny Cinema
City Fit Walk Series
Monday 30th 7pm at Canal Square
Harvest Picnic – Grand Finale Event at Highbank Orchards, Cuffesgrange
Sunday 29th September, 10am – 6pm
€5 entry per car