Waterford man motivated by 'promoting healthy food'

PURE Food is the epitome of food the Waterford Way.

It was originally set up by friends Cian Hawes and Paul Power as a way of utilising the amazing food that was sprouting from Waterford’s fertile soils right before their eyes. They were volunteering as horticulturists at Ballybeg Greens, teaching people how to grow their own fruit and veg, when the idea for Pure Food struck.

“We were growing the best of food and then dumping it after a few months before the new batch of students would arrive. So we decided to get our own allotments and start growing our own food,” Cian says.

Cian then went a step further and joined a ‘Start your own Food Business' course with Skillnet. “Our initial intention was to grow fruit and veg and try to sell that but we quickly learned that we wouldn’t be able to compete with the big boys on that front. So we started using the fruit and veg that we had to turn it into a product of our own,” he continues.

They started off with chutneys and jams, which they would then sell at the Butlerstown Farmers Market. “I had a load of spinach and basil growing so I made a pesto as well. It flew off the shelf so I said ‘lovely stuff’ we’ll do a few more of them,” he smiles.

Based in Dunhill, next door to the Middle Eastern food heroes Mezze, Pure Food is another in a long line of young stars of the local food industry. “We work closely with other food producers who face the same challenges and struggles as we do. We share information, tips, ideas and whatever else we feel we can do to help one another. I would definitely consider that cooperation and collaboration to be food the Waterford Way”.

Cian Hawes is motivated by 'promoting healthy food'. 

Presently, you can find Pure Food at the Ardmore Farmers Market every Sunday and all the food festivals. Their products can also be found in Ardkeen Quality Foodstores and in over 45 SuperValu and 24 Dunnes Stores outlets throughout Ireland. “Promoting healthy food [motivates me]. I sell my food at all the markets and festivals and use so much burgers, chips, sausages etc, but I like to do something different. My salads and pestos are clean, with no additives or preservatives, no sugar, low in salt – the way it should be”.

Cian feels the food industry is going in the right direction. “The Irish public are open to new things right now. I mean, ten years ago I could never have lasted with a pesto company but they’re definitely beginning to broaden their horizons when it comes to food, which is great to see. There has been an epidemic of rubbish eating and I’m trying to change that a little bit”.

Cian is working on releasing 2up to three new products by the end of September and another couple of products by the end of the year. “These will be pastas that will go with the existing pestos and a reintroduction of some of our original products such as sweet chilli etc,” he adds.

Cian is in talks with a major retailer to produce an exclusive line of products for them, and he is also hoping to bring a pop-up restaurant to an eatery near you in the near future.

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