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Why Ireland is the “warmest” country in terms of mushrooms? Leonne from JF McKenna showed us Ireland (1 of 5)


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When I looked on the website of JF McKenna I liked one phrase from their client`s review: “The whole team at JF McKenna will go the extra mile”, which means “make effort”. Being the editor of UMDIS Mushroom Information Agency, I agreed on our promo company visit to JF McKenna in the beginning of July. In the moment of buying the tickets – I realised that JF McKenna, general contractor and supplier for mushroom industry, was located in Northern Ireland, not in Ireland as I thought – so I needed visa to UK as it is not EU anymore. After thinking about the situation for some hours I wrote to JF McKenna:

-Maybe you will come to Ireland and show me your clients there?

I was amazed receiving the answer:

-Yes, for sure.

I thought that time – wow, this company really “will go the extra mile”!JF McKenna Ltd builds tunnel (more typical for Ireland), panel (more Dutch) and combined mushrooms farms, produce very durable aluminium shelving, instal Fancom, equip farms turnkey. They have experience of more than 60 years as the father John-Francis Mckenna started the business in 1960’s. He firstly grew mushrooms, then done packaging – then started to build and equip mushroom farms. During my visit I suddenly realised – that the development of mushroom business in Ireland – now the 4rth mushroom producer in Europe – was pushed a lot by John McKenna as he brought the technology there.

-How many of the mushroom farms in Ireland and UK are you clients? – I asked.

-Most of the Mushroom Farms in UK and Ireland have worked with JFM, – smiled Leonne McKenna.

Most people from mushroom industry know Brendan McKenna, Managing Director – however more of the family work within the family business. John’s two sons and two daughters work within the business. Leonne – who showed me the farms – is Technical Sales, Steven is Director and Sharon is Project Administration. Typically to Ireland – the country in which family means a lot – all children went to father`s company, and all of them are very close to each other. Also, they are very close to mushroom producers. When Leonne travels with me to every farm – it looks like she can stay here forever, talking to the farm owners, managers, as they are friends for many years.

Family orientated food companies are very important in the Irish economy in all sectors such as mushroom, vegetable, fruit and dairy. And that is not just marketing to sell more – here people really care about their fellow citicens like if all of them where parts of one family. The marketing of mushroom farms here – in terms of colours, shapes, labels, texts etc – looks like the warmest I have ever seen in Europe.

To put an example – when I entred the very first supermarket SuperValu near my hotel in Dublin – I saw mushrooms gently packed in a punnet with a label, showing the photo of the producer who grew those mushrooms, mentioning he is from Ireland – so those mushrooms are local too. By the way, we visited next day that mushroom producer – he is Mr Kerrigan, who has 18 growing rooms and supplies just to Irish market. In a talk we had – he told me:

– Everything here is built by JF McKenna who realy cares, and now we have opportunity to produce high quality mushrooms.

The supermarkets here in Ireland are very powerful. But that means not just they can dictate you the prices – they also tell you not to use chemical products, pack in ecological packaging, put on label a mark that it is domestic, even to push to stop usage of peat and to look for the alternatives. Because they care, and because their consumers are citizens who care for the environment and future of our world.

In Dublin airport – place which you see when you leave and when come back – you will find illustrations from Irish legends. And the posters of Irish people who won awards in different industry. I believe here people remember lots of things they can be proud about their country – just because the reminders are everywhere. My very first impression was the airport custom officer who asked me what I am doing in Ireland and after I started to tell him about UMDIS and our mission – he said:

-Yes, probably you are visiting Monaghan and other mushroom farms here? – as he knows that Ireland can be proud of how many mushrooms it produces.

Leonne McKenna booked me a beautiful hotel – where the bottles with water, placed in the room, were made from recycled carton, and in the breakfast room I saw the advertisement that all products they use are local. In me, a Jewish woman, traveling to different countries, trying to find the place where I feel like home, – such huge love to their country inspires admiration.

As I was told, the geography of JF McKenna`s sales covers Europe, America, Canada, Asia, Australia, Africa. They have spread their expertise, care, and heart everywhere.

– Our mission is to give good, reliable service to our clients, and to keep the trust, – tells Brendan McKenna, Managing Director. Everyone with whom we already done business trust in us and are confident – we always support them every time they need.

Mc Kenna supplier has clients from all over the world.

That is the first article regarding Ireland. To be continued.

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