When Janet Drew began making pickles at home, in 1995, she had no idea that this was to become her life and livelihood by 2003. Today, the business is still growing and her signature purple labels have become among the most recognizable products on shelves all over Ireland. It is almost impossible to describe Janet's Country Fayre without mentioning the woman herself because it is her personal drive, enthusiasm and energy, which is the key component to the quality and success of her product. Over the years, she has built some central relationships with both food buyers, retailers and most importantly other producers. Take for example her Fig and Apricot Chutney. Although equally at home with Brie, Parma ham and Pastrami, it was originally developed to be partnered with James McGeough's by now, iconic air-dried lamb. The sweet, deep, luxurious figs are a perfect counter balance for the juniper notes in his lamb. This is a classic example of successful food pairing only brought about as a result of a solid producer partnership built through real food knowledge.
The Sweet Pepper Relish has picked up many awards over the years and needs little by way of introduction except to say it is claimed to be one of the most copied (but never equaled!) of all Irish products. Suffice to say, it is equally at home on a simple cheese toastie or mixed with some good soft cheese to make an impressive dip with crisp-breads, chips or tortillas.
Also central to Janet's success is her careful choice of raw produce. Again, over the years, she has built relationships with her vegetable, seed, herb, nut and spice suppliers, guaranteeing that each and every piece of produce is vetted by herself and comes with local, fresh and quality credentials.
A shining example of this is the Beetroot Blush pickle. Unlike most beetroot relishes, this one can be eaten alone, with a little grating of horseradish, as a vegetable, or as a fantastic condiment with cold meats or some baked Irish goat cheese. The relish is made using only fresh beetroot and is still hand-bottled like all the produce.
Homemade, ready to heat Pasta Sauce is also a revelation. Complete with vegetables, fresh tomatoes and aromatic herbs, it is tasty, healthy and all natural! This range of 5 pasta sauces is produced under Janet’s sister brand called Janet’s Just Delicious. It is currently the only brand of tomato sauces on sale in Ireland with both No Added Sugar or Salt and Janet uses carrot puree as a natural sweetener. Janet has added a pizza sauce to the range which has proved enormously successful with the advent of homemade pizzas being a big trend with families.
Janet also pays keen attention to food intolerances and her professional kitchen at Kilcoole, Co Wicklow has nut and non-nut based products entirely separated so those with allergies can rest assured that all due care possible has been taken. In fact, anyone wishing to visit the operation can do so, guided by the producers themselves, only by way of an organised arrangement and should proceed by contacting Janet directly.
This is serious, foodie produce, from Basil Pesto for a simple pasta, to Scrummy Plum Chutney for a cheese board to Cranberry Sauce for Christmas to Cucumber Pickle for picnic baskets to Ploughman's Chutney for a food-filled afternoon on the beach. Let the eating begin!
Find Janet's delicious products specialist food shops in Dublin and nationwide, including fellow Good Food Ireland members Cavistons, Donnybrook Fair, Urru Culinary Store and Kate's Farm Shop.