DOWNPATRICK’S Market Street Cafe officially opened this week with a key commitment to purchasing locally and helping the environment

The cafe insists on sourcing food within a 15 mile radius of Downpatrick, and when not possible from County Down or the island of Ireland as a way of tackling the elongated supply-chain for basic foodstuffs operated by multinational companies. It is open Monday to Saturday from 8am.

With a focus on Fairtrade and freerange and organic produce, the cafe sells freshly hand-roasted Bailies Fairtrade coffee and offers a wide selection of breakfast and lunch choices, along with home-made deserts and traybakes.

As well as its selection of hot drinks, fruit such as bananas as well as chocolate and smoothies are from Fairtrade and rain-forest alliance certified sources.

At Thursday’s Market Street Cafe launch, proprietor Brenda Enright said the business wanted to do its bit locally to tackle global issues as foodmiles, global warming and the impoverishment of farmers and primary producers.

“The ethos behind the Market Street Cafe is to tackle the root of these issues through our product sourcing and purchasing policy,” she said. “We have posted the detail of all our local suppliers on the wall and continue to work with suppliers to localise our product.”

Brenda Enright welcomed local clergy to the opening saying “Impoverishment of third world farmers is an urgent issue and I know the churches are all in support of the Fairtrade initiative Having chaired the Fairtrade campaign in Downpatrick and Lecale with other traders since 2006, I am delighted to be able to ensure that this campaign is central to the ethos of the Market Street Cafe.”

Mrs. Enright said the Fairtrade price paid to third world farmers allowed quality standards to be higher than those found in some standard food and drink supplies.

“Clearly we carry additional costs that cannot be passed on in the current economic climate,” she said. “But I feel sure that we will develop customer loyalty around our ethical purchasing policy that will carry us through to success.”

“You have the power to choose what you buy — I hope you will all spread the message.”

Mrs. Enright went on to extend thanks to everyone who helped get the Market Street Cafe set up over the past month.

“I’d like to thank my husband, councillor Cadogan Enright, Ross from Bailies, Claire Marie from Crossgar Foods and my staff, especially Francis and Debra for all the help they have given me in getting started these last four weeks,” said Brenda.

The Market Street Cafe is located at 31 Market Street, Downpatrick. Contact 028 4483 8935.