Here at Blackthorn and Willow we keep a wide range of interesting foods, all of which have been produced within the nine counties of Ulster. We started out initially with the long-shelf-life foods such as jams and marmalades (‘Rose Cottage’ in Ballycarry, Co. Antrim); herb infused rape seed oils (Broighter Gold from near Limavady, Co. Derry) and fruit and herb-flavoured balsamic vinegars (Burren Balsamics from Co. Down).
Dried sea vegetables from Carnlough as well as North Coast Smokehouse’s smoked dulse, sea salt and black pepper were added to the shelves as were Belfast-based Deli Muru’s range of chutneys and pickles and their selection of biscuits.
Italian pasta sauce and ketchup from Peppup in Co. Down and vinaigrettes from Harnetts’s Oils followed, as did Tamnagh granola.
More recently we have expanded into stocking chilled foods – the Dart Mountain range of cheeses; the Abernethy selection of butters and, of course, Glenarm smoked salmon (just a few cheeses and butters are on display in the shop; the salmon and most of the cheeses and butters are kept refrigerated in our store room).
The most local of all these locally produced foods are our ‘Blackthorn Breads’, which are baked every Saturday in the tiny kitchen upstairs above the shop! These are ready shortly before midday on Saturdays.
In terms of drinks we have a delicious range of single-variety apple juices from Barnhill in Co. Armagh and fruit and herb-flavoured kombucha (fermented, lightly sweetened green tea), which come from Co. Donegal; coffee from S.D. Bells of Belfast and ‘Nine Blends of Antrim’ from Larne, and teas – black, green, white and herbal – from S.D. Bells and Suki Teas (loose leaf, pyramids and tea bags).
We think that everyone will find something here on our shelves to whet the appetite!